/ The Dallas Guide
Dallas — By Tui Cameron on May 5, 2010 at 5:16 pm
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Wildflower Viewing: A Texan Tradition

Texan wildflower meadow

Texan wildflower meadow.

While those living elsewhere are often oblivious to their state’s flower, it’s a rare Texan who does not know that the bluebonnet is the Lone Star State’s official blossom. It’s a Texan tradition to dress in your Sunday best, park along the shoulder of a road, and take photos of your loved ones surrounded by wildflowers.

Lady Bird Johnson’s motto, “where flowers bloom, so does hope,” is very apparent here in Texas. In fact, the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 was nicknamed “Lady Bird’s Bill.” What, at the time, was meant as a jab at her influence over the president, has morphed into respect for her appreciation of nature. To this day, travelers have Ladybird to thank for the great swaths of purple, yellow and red that flank Texan roadsides each spring.

Texan bluebonnets are members of the lupine family.

Texan bluebonnets are members of the lupine family.

Some confusion arises, however, over which exact flower is the official Texan bluebonnet. Should one, when pressed for particulars, say Lupinus subcarnosus, or should one go with the more regional sounding Lupinus texensis? As it turns out, the Texan legislature declared 5 different members of the lupine family to be its official state flower. How’s that for diplomacy?

A good way to learn the names of all sorts of flowers is to visit the Dallas Arboretum (map). Their lush gardens are open daily. If it rains during your visit, be sure to request a Rainy Day Pass, so you may return for a free visit during better weather.

A butterfly feeds on Indian paintbrush.

A butterfly feeds on Indian paintbrush.

To get the full effect of Texan wildflowers, however, you really need to go for a drive. Since even the best GPS can’t tell you where the blooms are, check out Wildflower Haven so you may plan your jaunt for optimal viewing.

For even more resources, read Operation Bluebonnet by PlanetEye’s Houston contributor, Christina Uticone. Her article is chock full of great flower photos and plenty of links for planning your own wildflower outting.

Wildflowers are blooming all across the state right now, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy this Texan tradition. ¬†How you participate is up to you; just make sure to bring your camera.

Photo credit: Tui Cameron

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