||It's April, and bluebonnets, the beautiful
wildflowers Texas chose as its emblem in 1901, are blooming in many
parts of that vast State, to the delight of residents and visitors. Next
year they may also decorate the courtyards of Saddam Hussein's former
palace in Baghdad.
Texan Michael Loggins took several packets
of seeds with him with that in mind, when he returned to Iraq last month. In
peacetime, he lives in Paris - that's Paris Texas, not Paris France.
Antique Shops A2Z
"I've been given the assignment of landscaping the embassy grounds," Loggins
told the Paris News's Mary Madewell, before leaving to return to Baghdad,
where he has been stationed in the former dictator's palace since late
September. "I plan to leave a little Texas in Iraq."
Paris Texas calls itself "Home to the Second Largest Eiffel Tower in the
Second Largest Paris." Roadside America reports:
Searching the internet for more details about bluebonnets, we found this
delightful description in an article by Iron Thunderhorse, originally
published in Wild West magazine in October 1996:
There are fourteen other American municipalities named Paris, and more
than a few have chosen to erect Eiffel Tower replicas to pay homage to their
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, TX is 65-ft. tall. In 1998 they added a
large red cowboy hat to the tip of the tower. Many decried this as the
dumbest idea ever, but to us it seemed in the spirit of other local
attractions: a grave monument with Jesus in cowboy boots, and a junior
college whose entrance is decorated with a statue of their cartoon dragon
Turns out the Cowboy Hat idea came just in time. The following year in
1999, Las Vegas almost humiliated all the little Paris's when they erected a
540-ft. tall Eiffel Tower Replica along the Strip. At half the height of the
original (which is 984 ft. tall), this replica is nearly ten times taller
than the other replicas. But no hat.
In Texas City, Margaret Mitchell (not the author of Gone With the Wind)
has a front yard filled with bluebonnets every year. "I look forward to the
flowers blooming," she told Dwight Andrews, of the Texas City Sun. "They
last right through Easter every year."
Each year the Texas countryside is carpeted with soft, rolling patches of
azure-blue wildflowers. Early white settlers who observed this annual
phenomenon for the first time compared these beautiful blue flowers to the
bonnets worn by the womenfolk to shield their delicate complexions from the
blazing Texas sun. That is how the name bluebonnet was given to this variety
of the lupine (Lupinus is the genus).
Texas folklore also records several other names given to this flower,
such as buffalo clover, wolf flower and el conejo ("the rabbit"), yet
the name bluebonnet has endured. Since 1901, the bluebonnet has been Texas'
There is another story that tells how this wildflower came to be--a tale
from the Comanche Nation that once called this land home.
[For that story,
click on the Bluebonnet History link below.]