Despite a lack of significant rainfall last October and an unparalleled, record-breaking winter storm just two months ago, the famous Texas bluebonnets and wildflowers have arrived!
The iconic Texas bluebonnet, a common name for a few species of lupines, was named the state flower of Texas in 1901. Christened for their resemblance to the bonnets worn by pioneer women to shield them from the sun, the blooming of the bluebonnets is a favorite event of native Texans every spring. Bluebonnet family photography is a prominent part of the blooming season, and thanks to Lady Bird Johnson’s efforts at highway beautification in the United States, bluebonnets and other wildflowers were planted along Texas highways, allowing for the viewing of these gorgeous flowers alongside most major roadways.
Other famous wildflowers often pictured with bluebonnets include the western blue-eyed grass, a light purple perennial; the Indian Paintbrush, a red-and-orange perennial; and phlox drummondii, a perennial which blooms in multiple colors.
While there are no laws against picking bluebonnets and other wildflowers, it is highly discouraged. It also is illegal to pick any flower from private property, as that could be considered trespassing.
The Department of Safety has issued many safety recommendations regarding drivers pulling off highways to take pictures for the safety of yourself and others. There are laws against impeding traffic, so be careful about slowing down to enjoy the view. Pick areas with light traffic conditions for stopping. Signal before leaving or entering the roadway. Park off the roadway (off of improved shoulders), parallel to the road in the direction of traffic, on the same side of the roadway that the flowers are on. Don’t walk or run across lanes of traffic to get to the flowers. Obey signs that prohibit parking on a particular stretch of roadway.
The bluebonnets and wildflowers will only be around for another week or two, so be sure to (safely) enjoy them while you can!