The Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) is an annual flowering plant endemic to Texas. (i.e. only found in Texas) It comes as no shock, then, that it is also Texas’ state flower!
Fun facts about the Texas Bluebonnet:
- Bluebonnets are a part of the legume (bean) family, and they have a symbiotic relationship between Rhizobia bacteria around their roots. This allows them to grow in terrible soil conditions. Have you ever seen the fields and fields of bluebonnets along the median of Texas state highways?
- The seed coats of bluebonnets are hard and tough, and wind, rain, and weather has to work over months–even years–to penetrate the coat and cause germination.
- Bluebonnet seeds actually germinate and sprout in the fall (so you should plant them then). They stay small and inconspicuous during the winter, while they grow a massive root system. Come spring, they grow like crazy and send up a plume of flowers.
- Bluebonnets rely heavily on bees to pollinate their flowers. White on the flowers attracts the bees while pollen is ready (bees can see white very well), and red on the flowers indicates the window for pollination has passed. (Bees can’t see red)
- Texas actually has five state flowers: all of them different bluebonnet (Lupinus) species!
Stay tuned for facts about chrysanthemums next!