I was born in, and spent a large portion of my life in Texas.  While I was there, I heard all types of tall tales.  Pecos Bill dug the Rio Grande when he was thirsty one day, Bigfoot wears a Stetson, the airplane was invented in Pittsburg, Texas (that's true) - I heard a version or twenty of each of these stories growing up.  By far the most prolific legend I heard surrounded the state flower - the mighty Bluebonnet.

I can't tell you how many times we were driving down I-20 or I-30 with my grandparents only to have the car screech to a halt for no apparent reason.  I would come flying out of the back dash and land in the floorboard of the Cadillac.  The next thing I know, me and all of the lucky grand kids that were loaded up were posing together for an impromptu family photo shoot in the bluebonnets.  If any of our horde dared to pick one of these magnificent flowers, it was quickly brought to our attention that by desecrating the state flower - we could be headed to a Texas prison!

So, my grandparents over reacted just a bit (understatement), but they weren't entirely wrong.  It was very much illegal to pick bluebonnets from 1933 to 1971.  During that time the Wildflower Protection Act made it against the law to "pick, pull, pull up, tear up, dig up, cut, break, injure, burn or destroy” any plant (including the bluebonnet) in any public land set aside for public use such as a park, public boat ramp, highway intersection, etc.  Now that the WFPA has lapsed, you can pick a few reminders of the Lone Star State - but don't go crazy!

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