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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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Sunday - September 07, 2008

From: Kingsbury, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Genetically altered bluebonnets?
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

I am trying to locate where I can purchase what I consider real bluebonnets not the genetic altered ones. The ones I am talking about are completely blue without the white tip on top. Do you have any idea where they can be purchased?

ANSWER:

If you find bluebonnets that are completely blue without a white tip on top, those would be the ones that are genetically altered. The white tip is a natural part of the inflorescence development. If you look closely at the picture below you will see that the white tip is made up of immature flowers. As the tip grows upward these green and white buds will develop into flowers with blue pigmentation. The white face on the banner petal of the flowers midway up the inflorescence is also naturally occurring. Notice that it turns red as the flower ages as indicated by the flowers at the bottom of the inflorescence. You are basically going back in time as you work your way from the tip to the bottom of the flowering stalk.


Lupinus texensis

 

 

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