We Texans look forward to the gorgeous displays of bluebonnets each spring; in fact, the standard family portrait you might see hanging in any Texan's home usually involves dressing the family up in starched white shirts and posing in a field of bluebonnets. Even though I haven't lived in my native state for about 15 years, I still think of those fields of wildflowers every spring.
Now the folks at Texas A&M are working on taming those wildflowers so they will work as a cut flower. According to this report: "Working out the problems inherent in the wildflower, which was necessary before any new varieties could be released, took seven years. Those problems included lengthening the flower, its life and its ability to hold blooms, and increasing the bloom's density and the flower's durability and greenhouse performance. " They drove all over the state to look for just the right breeding stock to create three shades of bluebonnets: blue, pink, and a near-white. The names? Texas Sapphire, Texas Ice, and Texas Sunset. Look for them soon at a florist near you.
(Texas Cooperative Extension photo by Janet Gregg)