That is why blankets of bluebonnets thrive alongside the Texas highways

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Blankets of blue flowers mark the beginning of spring in Texas.

Bluebonnets – the Texas flower – usually bloom from late March to early May.

Whether you are gathering all of the children to snap a picture of them in a field of blue flowers or driving on a state road, we can all appreciate their beauty.

In addition to Mother Nature, you can also thank the Texas Department of Transportation.

TxDOT Corpus Christi District posted photos of the flowers on social media Thursday morning, explaining their role in the growth of seasonal flowers.

The post said the beautiful bluebonnets on Interstate 37 near George West were “courtesy of TxDOT’s partnership with Mother Nature.”

“We don’t mow from winter to early summer so flowers can drop seeds,” the tweet said. “And our herbicide program only targets harmful weeds, which encourage wildflower growth. She does the rest.”

More:Looking for bluebonnets in Corpus Christi? Check out the list here.

Bluebonnets were named the official state flower of Texas in 1901.

But the state flower is not always blue. While most people think of blue when they think of bluebonnets, they can be found in pink, white, and purple.

There are more than 5,000 species of wildflowers that thrive along highways, according to the TxDOT website.

For more than 60 years, TxDOT has been delaying mowing, unless necessary for safety reasons, until the bluebonnet season is over.

As part of TxDOT’s wildflower program, the department buys and seeds around 30,000 pounds of wildflower seeds each year, the website says.

Although it’s a popular tradition, the department discourages photography, as it will damage the flowers.

“If too many wildflowers are trampled, they will die and will not go to the seeds,” the website says. “Since many of these flowers are annual, it means they will have to be sown to come back next year. Of course, we advise against picking the flowers for the same reason.”

Since the flowers bring swarms of people in every season, the Texas Department of Public Safety has tips on how to safely and legitimately enjoy the bluebonnet season.

Safety tips for viewing bluebonnets

  • Obey traffic laws and be careful when slowing down to take in the view
  • When you stop, park off the lane (from improved shoulders) parallel to the road in the direction of the traffic. Signal before leaving or entering the lane.
  • Follow signs that prohibit parking on a specific stretch of road.
  • Do not walk across the lanes to get to the flowers.
  • Make sure you aren’t privately owned when you stop to enjoy the wildflowers or to take photos of them.
  • Be careful with snakes, and fire ants other potential hazards when observing wildflowers.

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