NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - With bluebonnets now in bloom, you can find families and photographers living out a Texas tradition.
"It's the state flower. It's what you see a lot of families doing. It's become part of the culture to have pictures taken in bluebonnets," said Collin Sandifer, who was having family pictures taken in a field in Grapevine.
In 1901 the Texas legislature voted the bluebonnet the state flower. It's been a source of pride ever since.
"We moved back about three or four years ago now and as soon as we moved back, I knew I wanted to get my family shots in the bluebonnets," said Candace Sandifer.
Professional photographer Hayley Roebuck hears that a lot. Beside photographing them, she wants people to understand the wildflowers are important.
"You want people to know to respect them. You don't want to trample all over them. People love their bluebonnets," she said.
Experts say bluebonnets thrive on Texas weather, providing a mixture of rain and sunshine.
"You can go to all the other states that have other species and they are never like this. So ours are better? Well they are more abundant and they are very showy," said Bob O'Kennon, with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.
If you are trying to plan for peak season, experts say you can set your calendar by the city of Austin.
"Just because of that extra degree of warmth in the south, Austin will have bluebonnets two weeks ahead of us," explained O'Kennon. He also said if you look carefully at a bluebonnet you will see likely see some petals that are red. Those have been pollinated.
O'Kennon says seeds can last 30 years, and the average success with planting is about 60-percent.
It was Lady Bird Johnson who encouraged planting bluebonnets and other native plants along Texas highways for beautification. So you will drive by a lot of them, but the side of the road is not necessarily the best place for a photo. Experts say look for a field away from traffic so you can stay safe and still get the shot you want.
For the Sandifer family, this isn't the first time they have taken pictures in bluebonnets and it will not be their last. Candace said, "We love doing the bluebonnet shoots, because it's so quintessentially Texas. Everything about it screams Texas!"
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