Usually, by mid-April, there are seas of indigo blossoms rippling along highways and popping up in local parks, but the iconic Texas bluebonnets are late bloomers this year — see what we did there. Due to recent dry spells, they are just starting to spring up.
The bluebonnet has been the state flower since 1901 and has a pretty interesting legislative history, featuring some Texas heroines, which you can read in a recent article from our sister city, SATXtoday. But like any good Texan, we love legends as much as historical data, so we’re here to share a few stories behind the flower.
The lucky Lupinus
Some say Spanish explorers visited priests in the Holy Land who gave them seeds to take to the New World as good luck. The charmed seeds could be used to bribe Native Americans into cooperation. (We’re inclined to believe the flowers are actually native to Texas.)
The Lady in Blue
The Jumano Indians have a legend from when Christian missionaries were traveling through Texas and New Mexico. They believed that a nun dressed in a cobalt cloak over her habit visited them in their dreams. They awoke to find the fields where they were sleeping covered in blossoms the same shade as her clothing.
From the One-Who-Dearly-Loved-Her-People
City Editor Kate, here. We all have our favorite stories, but mine comes from a well-loved copy of The Legend of the Bluebonnet as told and illustrated by Tomie dePaola (author of Strega Nona). In this tale, a young Comanche girl lost her parents in a terrible drought. All she had left was a cornhusk doll they made her. To appease the Great Spirits and end the drought, she sacrificed her doll, her most prized possession. The ashes scattered in the wind, and in the morning, the rain began to fall, spouting blue flowers when it hit the soil.
Ready to create your own bluebonnet stories? Here are a couple of spots to see bluebonnets in and near Fort Worth.
- Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd.
- Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge, 9601 Fossil Ridge Rd.
- Longhorn Park, 7001 Lakeside Dr.
- Airfield Falls Trailhead and Conservation Park, 200 Pumphrey Dr., Westworth Village
- Or if you’re up for a bit of a drive, head about 70 miles southeast of the city to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails for a sea of state flowers.
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t actually illegal to pick bluebonnets, but it is frowned upon in this establishment. If you go to take photos, just snap your shot and leave the flowers for everyone to enjoy — and so they can reseed and come back year after year.