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

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Monday - February 04, 2008

From: Navasota, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Wildflowers
Title: Is there a variety of bluebonnet called black gumbo
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

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 bluebonnet. Is there such a variety?

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants can show you articles about bluebonnets of different colors, but we haven't heard of a "black gumbo" variety of bluebonnet. Who told you this? Do you think, perhaps, they were 'pulling your leg' because the soil in the area where the bluebonnet seeds were collected can turn into a 'black gumbo' after rains?

Only Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet or sandyland bluebonnet) and Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet or buffalo clover) occur in or near Grimes County. Here are more pictures of L. subcarnosus and L. texensis. In general, L. texensis is more widespread than L. subcarnosus and is usually the one seeded along highways. However, L. subcarnosus was the only species designated as the State Flower in 1901. In 1971, all six Lupinus spp. that occur in Texas (L. subcarnosus, L. texensis, Lupinus concinnus (bajada lupine), Lupinus havardii (Big Bend bluebonnet), Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine), and Lupinus plattensis (Nebraska lupine)) were proclaimed to be the State Flower of Texas.

 

From the Image Gallery


Sandyland bluebonnet
Lupinus subcarnosus

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Annual lupine
Lupinus concinnus

Big bend bluebonnet
Lupinus havardii

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

Nebraska lupine
Lupinus plattensis

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