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March 27th, 2004:


It’s been a good spring for wildflowers.

Colonies of bluebonnets have claimed embankments in Memorial Park and gardens in the Heights. The blooms, densely packed on 1-foot stems, quietly herald the wildflower season.

Follow the showy pink primroses, dropped like petals from a flower girl’s basket, west on U.S. 290, and the wildflower revelry grows louder.

Droves of Sunday drivers travel Texas roadways to ooh and aah at the spring flowers March through May.

Mother Nature is promising a stellar season in many areas of the state, having mixed the right proportions of cold and rain, followed by warm, sunny days and cool nights to color roadsides and fields in the weeks to come.

Washington and Waller counties should have an above-average crop of bluebonnets, the state flower. And if the rains continue, it will be an abundant wildflower season overall, said Ben Bowers, Texas Department of Transportation’s vegetation manager.

Just drive along 290 outside of Houston for a good, colorful look at springtime in Texas. Brenham is a prime location, or you can go visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Erica is usually on top of all things flowery as well.

You may have heard it’s illegal to pick wild bluebonnets in Texas. That’s not true, but I wouldn’t do it anyway.

The TxDOT Travel Division receives enough queries on the subject each year that they’ve compiled an information sheet. Joe Slocum, voice of the TxDOT Travel Division’s Wildflower Information Hotline and fan of Texas Twisted, shared this passage: “From a purely legal standpoint, there is no law currently existing which establishes picking wildflowers as a criminal offense.”

Tela Mange, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, confirmed the statement. “It’s bad karma to pick them,” she said, “but it’s not illegal.” She added, “I know at least one state trooper who says it’s state law … and every time we run into each other, I hand him a law book and say, ‘Come on, show me.’ And he’s not able to find it.”

Bad karma indeed. Go back to that Chron story and be sure to check out their wildflower slideshow for some good karma to counteract it.