Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Texas Hill Country Bluebonnets

We took a few drives to look at the wildflowers.  We were going to drive the famous Willow Loop Trail but were told by the Llano Visitor Center that we were too early and all the flowers were not out yet.  They gave us other drives to take to view the wildflowers.  I still think we are too early.  They are really in bloom starting in mid-March to mid-April.  But I did take some pictures to share.  Mixed in with the bluebonnets are Indian Paintbrush and daisies.









The Texas Bluebonnet blanket themselves over fields, roadsides, along creek beds, and cemeteries. The Texas state flower is very prolific.  So how did they get here? There are a few myths out there and a little science to it all.

Back in the old days, when the Spanish missions came to what is now Texas, priests would collect bluebonnet seeds and plant them around the missions. Why? Well, we're not really sure, but we do know bluebonnets are a blessing in and of themselves. However, people began to believe the Spanish priests brought the flower to Texas from Spain. This rumor is not true because there are so many Native American stories about the bluebonnet that predate the Spanish missions.

The most popular Native American bluebonnet legend involves a young Comanche girl named She-Who-Is-Alone.  The tribe was experiencing the effects of a long Texas drought, and as a result the buffalo and small critters were scarce. The tribe began to starve despite their prayers to the Great Spirit for rain.  One night, She-Who-Is-Alone did a noble thing. In the light of the full moon, she prayed to the Great Spirit and sacrificed her beloved handmade doll by throwing it into the fire. The next morning, it is said bluebonnets surrounded the tribe's village, covering the prairies and the hills beyond it. The blooms were the same color as the blue jay feather that adorned the young girl's doll, and when looking down onto the top of the flower, it was the shape of a star. The tribe discovered the bluebonnet was edible, and as a result the buffalo returned to feed on the flower. The tribe was able to survive through the drought. She-Who-Is-Alone was renamed by her tribe as She-Who-Dearly-Loves-Her-People, and the bluebonnet was then named Buffalo Grass.

The Texas bluebonnet flourishes in central Texas, which includes Texas Hill Country. Why? First, the winters and springs tend to be a little wetter here than in other areas around Texas. Bluebonnets need a wet spring in order to bloom. Also, they won't grow in heavy, clay soils. The Hill Country has a rockier, alkaline soil which bluebonnets love.

On our drive we drove down a dirt road, over a couple of washes where creeks go over the road, and into a cemetery to look at more wildflowers.









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