History

The Texas Bluebonnet: Its Legends and Myths

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Nothing is more of an icon of our state than the Texas bluebonnet, named for its resemblance to a woman’s sunbonnet often used to ward off the harsh Texas sunlight. Today, you will see children decked-out in their Easter Sunday finest and posed among a field of bluebonnets on any given spring day. No one can argue there was ever was a more-loved wildflower than the bluebonnet. However, few know the difference between fact and fiction when it comes to the history, legends, and myths of the bluebonnet, and how it manages to come back, year after year, to the delight of residents and visitors alike.

Legends of the Texas Bluebonnet

bluebonnet
Photo: Flickr/MVX

One legend of the Texas bluebonnet is its very origins. It has been a long-held rumor that the flower came to Texas by way of Spanish explorers. Some say that the explorers obtained the seeds from priests in the Holy Land, sending the special flowers as a good luck charm for the new land. Some believe that these Spanish explorers used the seeds to bribe mischievous Native Americans into cooperating with explorers. While both stories are entertaining to consider, neither is true. The Sandyland Texas Bluebonnet is as native to Texas as Willie Nelson and Shiner Bock, and any bluebonnet-like flower that came from Europe would be different from what grows here today.

Another legend of the bluebonnet that takes a decidedly more mystical angle comes from the Jumano Indians. The Jumano Indians tell a tale of a time when missionaries were making their way through New Mexico and Texas, spreading the word of Christianity to the tribes. The Jumanos reported seeing multiple visions of a nun, dressed in a rich, cobalt-blue color. She visited them in their dreams and taught them about Christianity. On the morning after her last otherworldly visit to the tribe, they awoke to find the entire field where they were sleeping to be covered in a beautiful flower–the exact, deep blue color of the nun’s habit.

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