It is a biennial plant which begins its life as a small, gravel-like seed. The seed has a hard seed coat that must be penetrated by wind, rain, and weather over the course of a few months (but sometimes several years). In the fall, the bluebonnets emerge as small seedings with two cotyledons, and later a rosette of leaves that are palmately compound with 5-7 leaflets 3-10 cm long, green with a faint white edge and hair. Growth continues over the mild winter months and then in the spring will take off and rapidly grow larger, before sending up a 20-50 cm tall plume of blue flowers (with bits of white and occasionally a tinge of pinkish-red). The scent of these blossoms has been diversely described; many people say they give off no scent at all, while a few have described the scent as 'sickly sweet'.
It has been found in the wild with isolated mutations in other colors, most notably all-white flowers, pink, and maroon. These mutations have since been selectively bred to produce different color strains that are available commercially.
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Lupinus texensis
- Texas Endemics: Distribution of Lupinus texensis
- University of Texas at Austin: Lupinus texensis
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