Texas Bluebonnet: lupinus texensis, a perennial herbaceous plant from the lupin family.
CENTRAL TEXAS. Drove from Austin to Bastrop today. Recent rain after the epic 2011 drought has brought out the best wildflowers I've seen in 20 years: Indian Paintbrushes, Indian Blankets, Black-eyed Susans, and of course, Bluebonnets, the Texas state flower. I won't mention Bastard Cabbage which is apparently trying to take over the neighborhood: http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/bastard-cabbage-attacks.
Back to lupinus texensis, I remember that growing up in England we had lupins in our garden: red, pink, purple, cream, yellow and pure white. No blue. Alongside huge maroon peonies, ours bloomed tall, fragrant, elegant. Cultivated. Mum would drag my sorry teenage carcass out of bed on weekend mornings to pull weeds. While deeply resenting such forced labor, still I had questions: who chose which flowers to be prizes, which to be weeds? I felt sorry for the weeds, mentally apologizing for ending their lives because someone somewhere had said, "This flower will be a beloved prize; that flower will be wild but may be chosen to represent a whole state, and this other, well, it's pretty and golden like the sun and has seeds that float like magic dust on the passing breeze but that's a weed. Pull it out. Let it die." I once said to Mum, "Who makes that choice?" "Never mind," she replied, "I don't want dandelions in my garden. Dig deep to make sure you get the whole root and be careful not to hurt the lupins." Even then, with primitive 14 year-old brain-power, I thought all flowers beautiful, whether prized, wild or weed.
Now if you'll excuse me, feeling rather sorry for the Bastard Cabbage, I'm firing up Wikipedia...