From:Austin, TX Region: Southwest Topic: Wildflowers Title: Hardiness of bluebonnet seeds under water and white bluebonnets Answered by: Nan Hampton
I was trying to find out more about the hardiness of bluebonnets. We own a lot on Lake Travis near Spicewood Texas. As you are probably aware, the lake was very low this spring due to a drought that started in late 2005. One unexpected benefit of the drought was a massive growth of bluebonnets in the shoreline area that is almost always under water. It amazed me that the seeds/plants would survive being inundated for such long periods of time and then spring forth in the most dense growth of blue bonnets I’ve ever seen. If you’d like to see the photos, I’d be glad to share them. Each photo file is quite large because I took them with a 10 Mega pixel camera. We also had a white blue bonnet that we found in Spring 2005 in an area away from the shore line and found in the exact same place in 2007. Interestingly there are no other white bluebonnets in that area nor did we find them in the massive growth that was along the shoreline.
Thanks for being available for these inquiries.
Bluebonnets are annuals; that is, they have to come up from seed each year. Was the area underwater last summer when bluebonnets were going to seed? If there were bluebonnets blooming in the same general area last year, it is more than likely that seeds from last year's crop produced the plants blooming this year. Bluebonnet seeds are dispersed mechanically when the dry seed pods burst and fling the seeds out. They can travel by gravity downhill if there is no vegetation in the way. Also, rain could wash them downhill. I don't believe that the seeds could survive longterm submersion in water, but it is possible that some seeds floated in from another area and were deposited as the lake receded.
Please see the answer to a recent question for a discussion of white bluebonnets.
More Wildflowers Questions
Is there a variety of bluebonnet called black gumbo February 04, 2008 - I live in Grimes County, Texas on the eastern edge of the Blackland Prairie. A few years ago my hillside of Bluebonnet seed was harvested. I was told it was a rare 'black gumbo' variety of bluebon... view the full question and answer
Best planting time for wildflower seeds in Austin, TX February 13, 2007 - When would be the best time to plant wild flower seeds and mow an area where we want to grow wild flowers in Austin Texas? view the full question and answer
Small, flowering, evergreen plants for hillside in Austin. October 27, 2007 - I have a steep, dry hillside measuring approximately 4 feet high by six feet wide. I want to plant low growing, evergreen, flowering plants across the bed that will flower as long as possible, and thr... view the full question and answer
Will maroon and Texas Bluebonnets prosper in Richland MO? July 02, 2013 - I live in Richland, MO and have obtained both Maroon and Texas Bluebonnet seeds from Fredricksburg, TX. Will they prosper in this area and when is the best time to plant? I have read how and what type... view the full question and answer
Native grass and wildflower possibilities for Weatherford, TX July 04, 2006 - I live in Weatherford, Texas - 20 acres and would love to have a prairie or soft cover throughout the year (less mowing). What do you recommend? I don't know anything about this ... So, feel free to ... view the full question and answer