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You may have been told as a kid picking bluebonnets was illegal, but is it really?

Spoiler alert: no, it is not illegal to pick bluebonnets. You just should not do it.
Posted at 4:09 PM, Mar 13, 2024

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texans take pride in their bluebonnets.

The state flower blooms for just a few weeks across Central Texas and the rest of the state every spring, covering fields in vibrant blues.

“There's actually seven species that are native to Texas. And they are now all officially the state wildflower.”

Michael Arnold is the director of The Gardens at Texas A&M. He's helping us get our facts straight about bluebonnets.

So, is it illegal to pick them?

“It's not illegal to pick bluebonnets, however, we do discourage it. One or two of you picking may not be a big deal but if everybody goes out and picks bluebonnets then we're depleting the seeds that are gonna be there for next year's crop. And so while it's not illegal, we discourage it," Arnold said.

What about the colors? Are all bluebonnets blue?

“We often find bluebonnets come as predominantly blue, but if you look at a population of them out in the wild, you'll see quite a few white variants that are there. And then even more rarely we'll see pink variants. And that's where the famous maroon bluebonnets were developed from," Arnold said.

Are those famous maroon bluebonnets really Aggie bluebonnets?

“We want to think it was being Aggies but it wasn't really. They wanted to create a Texas flag out of blue bonnets out of the state flower. Well they already had a third of the way there because they had the blue, okay. And they knew that there were populations of white," Arnold said.

So over 20 years, they used selective breeding to create the maroon bluebonnet, completing the bluebonnet state flag for Texas' 150 anniversary celebration in 1986.

Arnold said the peak bloom will be in the next two to three weeks and he invites people out to the garden to enjoy them.

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