En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Wednesday - April 18, 2007

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Obtaining seeds for mutant white bluebonnet
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have seen a white bluebonnet in Brenham on Easter and wondered how rare the white ones are and how you get seeds for those. Are there any special directions on collecting seeds for planting next fall? Scarify, keep dry/cool, etc. What is your opinion of the weather affecting this years bluebonnets?

ANSWER:

The white bluebonnet you saw is the result of a mutation in one of the genes responsible for producing the blue pigment of the flower. There are color variations other than white that show up occasionally (e.g., pink) but neither the white flower nor any of the other variants are true breeding. In other words, if they are sitting in a field with mostly normal bluebonnets, the pollen that the white ones receive will most likely be from the normal bluebonnets. This pollen will mask the mutation in the next generation so that they will have blue flowers instead of white. Some white ones will still surface every so often since blue flowers can carry (but masks) the mutant gene that causes white flowers. To produce white flowers, an egg with the white mutant gene must be fertilized by pollen which also has the mutant gene. If you want a population of all white bluebonnets, the white parent flowers have to be fertilized only by pollen that carries the mutation.

Dr. Jerry Parsons of Texas A&M, by carefully selecting and breeding color variants, produced a red bluebonnet and a Texas Aggie maroon bluebonnet. You can read about how he accomplished this in The Color-ization of the State Flower.

Wildseed Farms in Fredricksburg has the maroon, Alamo Fire, but Mr. Smarty Plants hasn't found a source for the white bluebonnet.

You can find "How to Grow Bluebonnets" in our how to articles with information about collecting, treating and planting bluebonnet seeds.

The rains have been beneficial for a good crop of bluebonnet seeds and the below freezing temperatures were short-lived, or non-existent, in most of the bluebonnets' range so shouldn't affect their seed production for next year's crop.


Lupinus texensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

More Propagation Questions

How to sow Eves Necklace seeds.
October 03, 2007 - I have recently acquired some Eve's Necklace seed pods. In order to plant them, do I need to open the pod to get to the seed, or do I just plant the pod? Should I soak or scarify the pod/seed?
view the full question and answer

Grooming and propagation of Bee Balm
August 28, 2007 - I planted our first Bee Balm [Mornarda didyma] bush a month ago. I`ve watered it daily and it is growing well with many runners apparent. Should I be deheading or pinching regularly? Should I cut it ...
view the full question and answer

Panels for greenhouse in Austin
January 09, 2008 - I am building a greenhouse for my plants here in Austin and and will be using PVC panels for the roof. Which would be better for starting and growing plants the clear or the white panels?
view the full question and answer

Pollination by dwarf yaupons of normal size selections in Gadsden AL
May 31, 2009 - Can dwarf varieties of male yaupons be used to pollinate non dwarf female yaupons? Specific males in question are Shillings (Stokes Dwarf) yaupon and Bordeaux Condeaux.
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Arisaema dracontium
May 25, 2008 - We are fortunate enough to own an 8-acre drainage next to Bull Creek preserve, and it has several stands of Green Dragon (Arisaema Dracontium) growing in it. How can we propagate this plant and share...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center