Texas BluebonnetAs a Texas based company, Sign-Express takes great pride in Texas state history. So we ask you, do you know the history of the Texas bluebonnet?

When the legislature decided it was time to select a state flower, a heated debate began. Some spoke in favor of using the cotton boll since cotton was heavily produced in Texas at that time. Others wanted the cactus for its hardiness and its beautiful orchid like flower. The ladies of The Chapter of the Colonial Dames suggested the bluebonnet. On March 7, 1901, Texas officially adopted the Lupinus subcanosus variety of the bluebonnet as the state flower.

For the next 70 years there would be debate about the state flower considering there are different species of bluebonnets. Many thought the variety Lupinus texensis should be named the state flower as it has a bigger bloom than the Lupinus subcarnosus. So in 1971, the State Legislature amended the adoption of the state flower to say the official Texas state flower is Lupinus subcarnosus and Lupinus texensis, plus “any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded” and made all species of bluebonnet the state flower.

These include:

Lupinus texensis: Texas bluebonnet or Texas lupine

Lupinus havardii: Big Bend bluebonnet or Chisos bluebonnet

Lupinus argenteus: silvery lupine or silver bluebonnet

Lupinus concinnus: Bajada lupine or Little bluebonnet

Lupinus plattensis: Nebraska lupine or dune bluebonnet

Lupinus subcarnosus: Buffalo clover or Original bluebonnet

Given its name for the rich blue color and the shape of the petals resembling the bonnets worn by pioneer women, the flower blooms in the early spring and can be seen throughout central and south Texas along roadsides. As part of the Highway Beautification Act, Lady Bird Johnson encouraged the planting of native plants along Texas highways and road ways after she left the White House.

The bluebonnet has become a major symbol of Texas much like the state flag and the “Lone Star State” motto. There is an official bluebonnet tartan, song, city (Ennis, Texas), festival (Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival), and trail (located in Ennis, Texas). “The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland,” Historian Jack Maguire wrote.

Despite common belief, it is not against the law to pick bluebonnets; however, it would be in everyone’s best interest to leave them where they are for all to enjoy their beauty.