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The state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet, from the genus Lupinus. This is a blue flower that bears a strong resemblance to an old fashioned woman's sunbonnet. In 1901, the state legislature adopted one specific species of blue bonnet as the Texas state flower. This was later amended in the 1970s to include any and all bluebonnet species.
Lupinus is a genus that contains several species of bluebonnets. Some other colloquial names for bluebonnets include buffalo clover and wolf flower. Waves of these small, but showy, blue flowers can be seen all over Texas during the spring.
Texas was the 28th state to join the United States. It was admitted to the union in 1845. In 1901, that members of the state legislature met to decide what the state flower of Texas should be.
The debate to determine the state flower of Texas was long and heated. Another one of the state flower candidates included the cotton boll, which is the fluffy white seed pod of the cotton plant. Back in those days, cotton was a very important flower, since it helped build the Texas economy.
Another candidate for the state flower of Texas was the prickly pear cactus. This suggestion was made by John Nance Garner, who later went on to become vice president in 1932. Garner campaigned for this flower so zealously that he earned the nickname “Cactus Jack.”
In the end, however, the bluebonnet became known as the state flower of Texas. This flower was said to be suggested by a lady's club from Dallas. The original species of Lupinus named as the state flower of Texas was Lupinus subcarnosis.
Lupinus texensis is showier and produces more colorful flowers, though. As a result, many Texans decided that this species of bluebonnet should have been chosen as the state flower of Texas instead. After 70 years of debate, the Texas legislature finally found a diplomatic solution to this problem.
In 1971, the legislature announced that all bluebonnet species would be considered the state flower. Three other common species of bluebonnets also exist. Lupinus concinnus is the smallest of these species, while Lupinus havardii is the largest. Lupinus platensis can be found in the northern part of Texas.
Many people believe it is illegal to pick the state flower of Texas. Although this is untrue, individuals are not allowed to do certain things when picking bluebonnets. They are not allowed to trespass onto another person's property, for example. Individuals are also asked to not block traffic if they decide to pick the flowers next to roadways.