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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.

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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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Saturday - April 21, 2012

From: Godley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Wildflowers
Title: Spots on bluebonnets from Godley TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants! I'm trying to separate rumor and folktales from fact when it comes to bluebonnets in Texas. I notice that bluebonnet blossoms have a double white spot on the center petal that I am guessing acts as a visual "target" for pollinators like bees. However, I also notice that some (but not all) older flowers have a deep burgundy or almost black "target". My question is this -- does the color change from white to burgundy of the "target" spot indicate that that flower has been pollinated? Or just that it is an older flower and not producing as much (or any) nectar & pollen compared to a bloom that has just opened? I didn't think to tag the target center - darker colored blooms to see if they develop seed pods till now, and our bluebonnets are almost gone. Thank you Mr. Smarty Plants and it's a pleasure to help support the Wildflower Center!

ANSWER:

And you can be sure we appreciate the support!

We don't want to get into this controversy, it looks to us like the pollinators (bees) and the bluebonnets are doing just fine without our trying to find out how they do it. However, we found several articles addressing this very question-we leave it to you to make your own decision.

From Texas Bee Watchers

From Texas Image Archives - Bluebonnets

From blog biologie

From honeybeesuite.com

From flickr.com

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

Texas bluebonnet
Lupinus texensis

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