Here in the great state of Texas, we revere many different wildflower species each spring, but we exalt none as high as the Texas Bluebonnet. It’s safe to say that, between all of the bluebonnet festivals, family portraits, and scenic roadsides, just about every self-respecting Texan knows how to recognize bluebonnets from other spring blooms.

But beyond that, how much do you know about our beloved state flower? If your honest answer is, “Not a lot,” then these seven lesser-known facts will get you up to speed:

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1) The 1901 state flower race was heated

bluebonnet cotton prickly pear cactus state flower election race texas 1901

Bluebonnet (left), cotton boll (center), prickly pear cactus (right). Photos: Flickr users Bruce Turner, CalsidyroseCliff Hutson, CC licensed.

Back in 1901, when the Texas Legislature was nailing down all of the official state mascots, something of a flower war ensued as three different speakers each nominated a different bloom and argued passionately in support of his or her particular choice.

According to TAMU, the cotton boll was nominated because it was an economic “king” at the time, but because cotton really isn’t much to look at, it was shot down. Next, a fellow who later became known as “Cactus Jack” nominated the prickly pear cactus for its hardiness and exquisite “orchid-like” beauty. In the end, however, even the vibrant prickly pear flower paled in comparison with the bluebonnet, which was nominated by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America.



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