Drink in the hue of a Texas bluebonnet bloom

March 29, 2017, 3:27 p.m.
Texas bluebonnets
Photo: kan_khampanya/Shutterstock

Spring has sprung in Texas, with Dallas and other areas in the northern part of the state covered in a brilliant sea of blooming Texas bluebonnets. They arrived to blanket roadsides and fields about four weeks early this year due to a warm and rainy winter. The bloom usually peaks in early April and can last until early May.

"The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland," Texas historian and author Jack Maguire once said. Texans are definitely proud of their bluebonnets: Locals flock to blue-hued fields as the perfect backdrop for family photos, cities and towns host bluebonnet festivals, and tens of thousands of people visit Ennis — the "Official Bluebonnet City" of Texas and home to the Bluebonnet Trail — to see the flowers, locals told NBC 5.

The Texas Department of Transportation has been encouraging their growth for decades. According to the agency:

Shortly after the Texas Highway Department was organized in 1917, officials noted that wildflowers were among the first vegetation to reappear at roadside cuts and fills. In 1932, the department hired Jac Gubbels, its first landscape architect, to maintain, preserve and encourage wildflowers and other native plants along rights of way. By 1934, department rules delayed all mowing, unless essential for safety, until spring and early summer wildflower seasons were over. This practice has stayed in place for more than 60 years and has expanded into today's full-scale vegetation management system.

Five species of bluebonnet, the official state flower since 1901, grow in Texas: Lupinus subcarnosus, L. havardii, L. concinnus, L. perennis, and L. plattensis. If you want to go see them for yourself, the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram offers about 10 recommended viewing spots. For those who can't go in person, see them remotely in this YouTube video: