AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW/AP) – A maroon version of the state flower that’s sprouted in the shadow of the University of Texas Tower in Austin has some wondering if it’s the work of Aggie pranksters.
Flower beds containing brightly colored bluebonnets are now home to a variant known as Alamo Fire, which is a shade of maroon. The Texas A&M colors are maroon and white.
There’s speculation in the land of the Longhorns that Aggies are responsible for sprinkling Alamo Fire seeds on the UT campus.
“There were just a few at first but now there’s much more,” said Markus Hogue, from the UT Irrigation and Water Conservation department.
Hogue said his team had planted regular bluebonnet seeds all over the Austin campus. It’s only in the flower beds below the tower that the maroon ones have popped up, leading him to believe that they were planted there deliberately.
“When we started seeing the maroon, I started researching it more, it led me to believe that it was more likely these seeds were created at A&M and brought over here,” Hogue said.
Texas A&M horticulturists developed the maroon variety in the 1980s in an attempt to plant a floral Texas flag in honor of the state’s sesquicentennial.
Texas A&M professor and horticulturist Doug Welsh says the recessive maroon hue will recede over time to the bluebonnet’s dominant shade of indigo.
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