By TODD GLASSCOCK
Bluebonnets are as much a part of Texas lore as horned toads and the Alamo.
Folklorist J. Frank Dobie said of the state's flower that no other bloom yields “such upsurging of the spirit and at the same time such restfulness.”
When in sight of a roadside patch of the violet flowers with their icy white tips, that upsurge of spirit may lead you into blue pastures, tempted to rest among the splendor, and take a picture in them, as most native Texans – and some non-natives – have done, especially around Easter.
The temptation may also swell to pick a bouquet of the blooms. But, if you've grown up in Texas, your parents or grandparents have probably told you that jail-time awaits those who want to take a handful home.
“The only thing I've ever heard about them is that you couldn't pick them,” said Mineral Wells resident Troy Stone.
This is a legendary taboo. A pretty bouquet won't land you in the Palo Pinto County Jail, or any jail, for that matter, as the Texas Department of Public Safety reports on its website.
“There is no law against picking our state flower,” the DPS website reads. But, the site warns, “there are laws against criminal trespass, so make sure you're not on private property when you stop to take your annual kids-in-the-bluebonnets photo.”
Also beware, the site says, that laws are on the books for damaging or destroying rights-of-way and government property, so digging up clumps of the flowers or anything else along the roadway, or driving through them will get you in trouble.
Not to say you won't get in a measure of trouble from native Texans who want to keep bluebonnet patches untouched, writes David Courtney of Texas Monthly.