Clarifying the Legalities Surrounding the Iconic Texas Bluebonnet

by Jennifer

TYLER, Texas – With the onset of Spring in East Texas, the landscape undergoes a vibrant transformation, adorned with the blossoming of wildflowers.


Among these blooms stands the bluebonnet, designated as the official state flower of Texas since 1901, adding its distinctive hue to the seasonal panorama.

Expressing admiration, one observer remarks, “Love all the different flowers, and the bluebonnets.”

Echoing the sentiment, another admirer describes the bluebonnet as “Just a beautiful peaceful flower. I can just picture people stopping by the road and getting their picture taken in them.”

These blooms owe their proliferation in part to the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) wildflower program, which strategically seeds over 5,000 native wildflower species along the state’s roadways.

Jeff Williford, spokesperson for TxDOT, underscores the significance of this longstanding conservation effort, stating, “It’s been for over 90 years that we’ve worked to conserve and preserve the wildflower species. And it’s about 800,000 miles of right of way that we have these seeds planted. The most iconic I think is the bluebonnet.”

Addressing common misconceptions, Williford clarifies, “It has never been illegal to pick a bluebonnet.” He emphasizes, “There’s a lot of lore around ‘you better not pick that’. It’s the state flower. It’s not illegal to pick a bluebonnet. From our perspective it would be highly frowned upon.”

While picking bluebonnets isn’t technically unlawful, there are important considerations regarding the location.

Williford warns against stopping along the shoulder, which could result in a ticket for road obstruction, and advises against trespassing on private property. This prohibition extends to government properties like courthouses and federal lands such as state parks.

In lieu of plucking the flowers, TxDOT encourages the public to opt for capturing photographs with them. Williford emphasizes, “If you want to take pictures with them, that’s awesome. It’s just be careful where you go, where you walk.”

To sustain this initiative, TxDOT annually purchases and sows approximately 30,000 pounds of wildflower seeds, ensuring the continuity of the program.


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