Adopted: 1901, Updated: 1971
Also includes the State Flower Song, "Bluebonnets" by Julia Booth and Lora Crockett (adopted 1933); State Bluebonnet Festival, Chappell Hill Bluebonnett Festival (adopted 1997); State Bluebonnet City, Ennis (adopted 1997); State Bluebonnet Trail, Ennis (adopted 1997)
Endemic to our state, bluebonnets grow from central Texas’ Blackland Prairie to the Big Bend, thriving in the Edwards Plateau’s arid conditions and often forming expansive carpets in pastures and along highways. Ennis, south of Dallas, is the state’s “Official Bluebonnet City,” and Burnet in the Hill Country is the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas.” Portrayals of bluebonnets grace Texas galleries and living rooms, none more treasured than the original oil paintings of W.A. Slaughter, 1923-2003, a self-taught as a landscape painter.
So, it is fortunate the 1901 Legislature turned down a proposal for the cotton boll to be the state flower, choosing instead Lupinus subcarnosus. Otherwise, historian Jack Maguire’s ode could not have been written: “The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland.”
In time, other bluebonnet species were identified, so the 1971 Legislature designated the most striking one, Lupinus texensis, in addition to the 1901 choice and “any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded.”
Learn • Go • Do
The oldest annual bluebonnet trail, whose course is updated annually, is in Ennis, and another accompanies the annual Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet.
The annual Chappell Hill festival is held in April.
Learn more from the Texas State Historical Association, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (including why bluebonnets are seen on Texas roadsides), and the Texas Department of Transportation’s wildflower program.
In some respects, Texas legislatures overdid the native flower. Lyrics and music penned by two women from tiny Chappell Hill in Central Texas, Julia Booth and Lora Crockett, were enshrined as the state flower song in 1933. The song declares: “Blue is the emblem of loyalty / They’re as blue as the deep, deep sea, / Their smiling faces bring gladness, / For they bloom for you and for me.” In 1997, the state’s official bluebonnet festival became the one held annually in Chappell Hill, while Ennis was blessed the same year as the official bluebonnet trail site and the Texas bluebonnet city.