AUSTIN (KXAN) – Bluebonnet season is fast approaching. The state flower of Texas typically begins blooming in large swaths toward the end of March and continues through mid to late April.
With the major February ice storm impacting vegetation, especially our trees, and our current state of drought worsening, we wanted to learn what impacts these variables will play on the upcoming bluebonnet blossom season.
Meteorologist Sean Kelly spoke with Amelia Wolf, an integrative biology assistant professor at the University of Texas-Austin. She studies plants and conducts research at the Brackenridge Field Lab. Read the interview below to learn more.
‘The bluebonnets will be just fine’
Sean Kelly, KXAN News: “A lot of people in Texas, including myself, love bluebonnets. Love how scenic they are and beautiful. We want to know about the freeze that we had. Do you think that has any impact on them? How many will blossom and be produced? Did the ice storm negatively impact them?”
Wolf, UT-Austin professor: “The good news is that I think the bluebonnets will be just fine. Back in 2021, when we had the ‘snowpocalypse’, the bluebonnets were just fine. The native plants around here really are well adapted to being able to deal with these cold snaps that come by every once in a while. Most of the flowers that we see come up in the spring actually germinate in the fall. So they’re really used to coming up when it’s cold, dealing with the occasional freeze.”
Kelly: “Does that have anything to do with it being kind of insulated at all during the cold months?”
Wolf: “Going back to that 2021 ‘snowpocalypse’. I think a lot of the plants… did experience a lot of insulation from that snow layer. I’m actually from Wisconsin originally. I am well acquainted with that insulation that snow can provide. The ice was a bit thinner. I’m not sure honestly, whether that provided much insulation, but it wasn’t as cold. That’s the other thing, the cold snap that came through just recently wasn’t too cold, we were kind of hovering in that what, like 30° to 33° range for three days. So it’s not that cold for these plants.”
Kelly: “Would you say that the significant drought that we’re in across the area will have an impact on what blossoms this year?”
Wolf: “It may. I think we’ll get a pretty good bloom this year. We are seeing tons of bluebonnets little baby bluebonnets germinating, so I think we’ll have a pretty good complement of bluebonnets.”