AUSTIN (KXAN) — Whether you are a longtime Texan or newly transplanted, odds are you have heard that picking spring bluebonnets is illegal. But is it really?

Bluebonnets are the official state flower of Texas and seem to pop up just about everywhere this time of year, from your neighborhood median to the open fields in the Hill Country.

GRAB YOUR CAMERA: 10 gorgeous places to see bluebonnets in the Austin area

But according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Department of Public Safety, there is actually no specific law that prohibits picking bluebonnets.

With that said, picking bluebonnets on private property is illegal due to trespassing laws. It is also illegal to destroy any plant life in any Texas State Park.

While it may be a myth that picking the beautiful blue flowers is illegal, conservation is crucial to preserving these delicate native plants. In other words, just because you can pick them, does not mean you should.

Many of the wildflowers you see on the side of the highway will not regenerate if picked or trampled, and it is important that we preserve them for your neighbors and future generations to enjoy.

Typically, bluebonnet season ramps up in March and peaks in early April, tapering off later in the month. If you would like to take pictures with your friends and family, here are some tips from TCEQ:

  • Park off the roadway, parallel to the road in the direction of traffic
  • Park on the same side of the roadway as the flowers
  • Do not cross lanes of traffic on foot to get to the wildflowers
  • Always signal before leaving or entering the roadway
  • Obey all signs that prohibit parking on the roadway

Check out the best bluebonnet drives this spring, courtesy of the experts at the LBJ Wildflower Center.