Fun facts about Texas Bluebonnets

Today we shot the Garden Journeys segment for Spectrum news in the Mueller Orchard. It looks incredible now- my photos do not live up to the real thing. There are six species of bluebonnets that grow in Texas. And it diplomatic move to Texas Legislature designated all six as a Texas state flower and any future cultivars or varieties that are discovered will also be designated as the Texas state flower. Of course Texas would have more than one state flower...better than all those tiny states with only one. You may be lucky enough to spot bluebonnets in shades of pink white or maroon or light blue. In Central Texas we know Lupinus texensis best as a deep, dark blue flower that colonizes large swaths along roadsides and in disturbed waste places. They can grow in these tough places because they are legumes- members of the Fabeacea family along with peas, beans, Redbuds and Texas Mountain Laurels. Legumes have a symbiotic relationship with a special soil microbe. All plants need nitrogen to make leaves and stems. But soils in disturbed areas- like those along roadsides- usually don't have enough nitrogen to support most plants. The little soil microbe that lives with the legumes, including bluebonnets, can grab nitrogen out of the atmosphere and "fix" it so the bluebonnet can use it. In return the bluebonnet gives the microbe some sugar that it makes in it's leaves. The microbes make a tiny home on the roots of the legumes and it looks like a little nodule. The plants attract the microbes by exuding stuff that the microbes like out of their roots. Pretty cool!!! The Mueller Orchard is full of bluebonnets right now and is easy to park near and walk into if it is time for your annual bluebonnet photos. The orchard is at the corner of Manor and Berkman roads.