“Native plants give us a sense of where we are in this great land of ours.” –Lady Bird Johnson
When my family and I first moved to Texas, it was in the dull, brown winter. You can imagine our surprise when spring rolled around and various flowers started sprouting up in the oddest places. We were even more surprised of the carloads of people rushing to park on sides of highways. Surely they weren’t stopping on a side of a highway to take a family photo?
Having spent more than a decade in Texas now, families stopping on the side of a highway to take Bluebonnet pictures warms my heart. This is a Texan tradition, just like those prom Mums that no one else besides Texans knows about. Now that I have a little Texan of my own, the first native Texan in both families, I can’t wait to share the Bluebonnet tradition with him.
Buffalo clover, wolf flower, el conejo are just a few of the names that this flower has gone by, but the most commonly known name is “Bluebonnet.” Lady Bird Johnson couldn’t have spoken truer words when saying that the flowers indicated where we were. Bluebonnets definitely scream Texas, and they have reigned as our state flower since 1901. The love of luebonnets can reach fanatic levels of people trying to get that perfect family photo even sometimes putting personal safety aside.
People’s love of Bluebonnets have inspired an official Bluebonnet tartan, song, a city, festival, and trail. The “Official Bluebonnet City of Texas” is held by Ennis, TX. Ennis not only holds that title but they also have the “Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail”, and rightfully so since many of their trails are some of the oldest Bluebonnet trails in the state. Ennis sees thousands of visitors for each Bluebonnet season and hosts a weekend festival for even more activities for the family to enjoy. While many Texans think it is actually illegal to pick a Bluebonnet, there is no such law. However, TxDOT does recommend that Bluebonnets are not picked or trampled so that they will continue to be a spring tradition in Texas.
Although it is our love of Bluebonnets that have been featured in the New York Times, Texas has more colors to share then just blue. More than 5,000 different species of wildflowers reside in Texas. Indian Paintbrush, Buffalograss, Texas Star, Goldenrod, and “ice cream grass” are just a few of our many natural beauties waiting to be seen.
No matter which sort of floral beauty interests you this spring, these Texas wildflowers can be viewed throughout the state including the Brenham area, Big Bend, Ennis, Hill Country area, and South Texas area. Thanks to this handy guide from TxDOT, you can find the location for your spring picture by searching for flower type, region, or even highway.
Looking for a way to extend the family fun once the sightseeing is over with? Challenge the family to a wildflower quiz to discover who the flower enthusiasts are.