Spring is in the air. And everyone has their own way of greeting it. Texas police officers, for example, are flocking meadows to play with bluebonnets. That's right, many of them have decided to join the #BackTheBlueBonnet, a social media challenge that invites people to post pictures of themselves laying in fields of the flower that has been a symbol of the state for a very long time now.
The law enforcement community is sharing playful pictures of officers in a huge variety of poses. Some are meditating, others are reading books, enjoying a donut, and even going for a walk with their K9 partners, but whether or not the cops are striking silly positions, all of them seem to be enjoying the beautiful blooms.
The Commerce ISD Police Department, for example, are very active on social media and and couldn't resist participating in the challenge after coming across it on the Internet.
"We took pictures at a nearby bluebonnet patch," officer Dave Contreras told Bored Panda. "Bluebonnet patches can be found virtually along any highway in Texas!" The star of the show, K9 Coco is a 3-year-old pit mix shelter dog turned police dog. "She is trained in narcotics detection and is an amazing dog."
Just like the folks at the Commerce ISD Police Department, Archer City PD found out about the challenge on the Internet. "Previous dance or lip sync challenges required taken and/or coordination. This challenge required neither, making it the perfect challenge for me," Chief Just Perron told Bored Panda. "The photos we did were to show another side of law enforcement. We are not always about handcuffs and tickets. We are people who have a sense of humor and like a good laugh just like the next guy."
The best part? Their community was very receptive to their photo shoot with a large amount of positive feedback!
A long time ago, choosing the state flower led to a duel of the sexes with many male lawmakers favoring the hardy cactus or the business-friendly cotton boll as best representative of the state. But the ladies — specifically the National Society of Colonial Dames of America — had a different vision. They wanted the Lupinus subcarnosus, or buffalo clover as it was commonly called at the turn of the century, to become the symbol of Texas.
Eventually, "The men being gentlemen basically ceded to the wishes of the women and that is how the 'bluebonnet' became the state flower," Flo Oxley, program coordinator at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, told Chron. In 1901, Lupinus subcarnosus became one of the first state symbols.
But it wasn't the end of the debate. Oxley said the designation "essentially started a war." There was another known species of bluebonnet, the showier Lupinus texensis.
"It was a much bigger, more robust flower, which some folks thought better exemplified the spirit of Texas and its people, as opposed to the subcarnosus, which had a very dainty kind of flower," Oxley added. For the next 70 years, people pushed lawmakers to rename the state flower to L. texensis.
But in 1971, the politicians finally found a compromise."They solved the problem by basically writing legislation that said those two species plus any other that happened to show up in the future would come under the umbrella of the state flower," Oxley said.
Now, there are five known species. In addition to L. texensis, which the Texas Department of Transportation scatters along state byways, there are Big Bend/Chisos bluebonnet (L. Harvardii); annual lupine (L. concinnus) and perennial bluebonnet (L. plattensis).