Widely known as the Texas state flower, the bluebonnet flower is appropriately named for its rich blue, sunbonnet-shaped appearance. Bluebonnets are one of a few species within the lupinus genus, which belong to the fabaceae family and faboideae subfamily. Many varieties of bluebonnets are native to Southwest regions of the United States, and are well adapted to these locations, as they prefer only light moisture, and can grow beautifully in alkaline soils with few nutrients. Although the most commonly known bluebonnet – lupinus texensis – is almost exclusively seen in a deep shade of blue, other types may be seen in colors of purple, pink or off-white.
Because of its unusual beauty, the bluebonnet flower has become steeped in a good deal of myth and legend. One such legend tells of a young Native American girl named She-Who-Is-Alone. During a long and painful spell of drought, the chief of the tribe asked everyone to sacrifice an important possession to the Great Spirits, but none would. She-Who-Is-Alone was the only one to step forward and give her beloved doll – a gift from her lost parents – as a sacrifice. The Great Spirits took kindly on the small girl, and the rain finally began to fall; with it sprouted field upon field of stunning bluebonnets. The bluebonnet flower has also become a well loved subject for a number of artistic mediums. For example, “Bluebonnet” by Jairo Lopez depicts a row of the beautiful blossoms in deep blue and green mosaic tiles; “Bluebonnets at Sunrise” by Julian Onderdonk, which depicts a massive field of flowers highlighted by a bright day; and the well known song, “Blue Bonnet Blues,” where the singer expresses his longing for the state of Texas by way of describing a happy childhood spent in fields of bluebonnets. In addition to art, the bluebonnet also has a large place in cultural events. Every year in cities throughout Texas, locals gather to watch parades, eat, shop, play games and – most importantly – to view the brilliant new crops of wildflowers.
The most common symbolism for the bluebonnet flower is, of course, pride in the state of Texas. Though these blossoms may be given to celebrate state-related events, they are also given as gifts for their simple, stunning beauty. Although large bouquets filled with this blossom can make a fantastic statement, most people prefer to mix them with other flowers in complimentary shades.