This day in Texas History: Bluebonnet Proclaimed State Flower
This day in Texas History:
Bluebonnet Proclaimed State Flower
March 07, 1901
On this day in 1901, the Texas legislature proclaimed the bluebonnet the state flower.
In the 1930s the state began a highway-beautification program that included scattering bluebonnet seed beside roadways, thus extending the flower’s range. The flower-called in some Indian lore a gift from the Great Spirit-is the subject of countless photographs and paintings. It usually blooms in March and April.
The annual legume Lupinus subcarnosus, derives its popular name from its resemblance to a sunbonnet. It has also been called buffalo clover, wolf flower, and, in Spanish, el conejo (“the rabbit”). On March 8, 1971, the legislation was amended to include L. texensis and “any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded.” At least four other species of bluebonnet grow in Texas: L. havardii, L. concinnus, L. perennis, and L. plattensis. Contrary to various folk stories and legends claiming that the plant originated outside the state, L. texensis and L. subcarnosus are native to Texas.
In 1933 the legislature adopted a state flower song, “Bluebonnets,” written by Julia D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett. Also in the 1930s the Highway Department began a landscaping and beautification program and extended the flower’s range. Due largely to that agency’s efforts, bluebonnets now grow along most major highways throughout the state. The flower usually blooms in late March and early April and is found mostly in limestone outcroppings from north central Texas to Mexico. Its popularity is widespread.
Although early explorers failed to mention the bluebonnet in their descriptions of Texas, The bluebonnet continues to be a favorite subject for artists and photographers, and at the peak of bloom, festivals featuring the flower are held in several locations.
Ennis was designated by the 1997 State Legislature as the home of the “Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail” and was designated the “Official Bluebonnet City of Texas.” Their Bluebonnet Trails Festival takes place during the month of April, featuring arts and crafts booths, food vendors and entertainment.