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Mr. Smarty Plants - Seeds for native Sandyland Bluebonnet

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Saturday - October 04, 2008

From: Paige, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Seeds for native Sandyland Bluebonnet
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Bastrop County Texas and would like to plant our native Sandyland Bluebonnet, Lupinus subcarnosus. I have checked most of the native plant supply firms, but can't find this species (except for B&T in Europe). Do you know anyone supplying it? Thank you very much for any help you can pass my way.

ANSWER:

You are correct, the usual native seed suppliers that we rely on don't seem to differentiate between the different Texas native bluebonnets in their catalogs. When we searched on the botanical names of the six species of Lupinus considered to be Texas State Flower, our usual old reliable Native American Seed gave us a "hit" only on Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) and they were referred to simply as "Bluebonnets." Lupinus concinnus (bajada lupine), Lupinus havardii (Big Bend bluebonnet), Lupinus perennis (sundial lupine), Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet), and Lupinus plattensis (Nebraska lupine) did not rate a mention. We discussed this with some staff people at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center who do some of the seed and plant collection for the Wildflower Center. They did not know of any harvesting of Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet), specifically. We are of the opinion that, for the harvesters, just determining which species was which when they were taking seeds would be very difficult, especially since the blossoms are long gone when the seeds are harvested. It's very possible that when you buy a packet of Texas Bluebonnet seeds, you may be getting some of the other species' seeds besides Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet), but who could tell the difference?

We did find a very technical article comparing the soils in which Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) and Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet) grow, which stated that Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet) did very well in Bastrop Park sandy loam. Of course, we're sure you know that you cannot harvest seeds in a State park, nor from any private property without express permission from the landowners. However, if you keep a sharp eye out during the next bloom season, you might be able to mark some of the blooming plants in the Bastrop area for the species you want, and (remember, not without permission) harvest some of those seeds for your project. Who knows, you may have Lupinus subcarnosus (Texas bluebonnet) already growing on your property!


Lupinus subcarnosus

Lupinus subcarnosus

Lupinus subcarnosus

Lupinus concinnus

Lupinus havardii

Lupinus perennis

Lupinus plattensis

Lupinus texensis

 

 

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