As speculation circulates that a strain of maroon bluebonnets sprouting on campus is a result of a Texas A&M prank, University officials have decided to have the Aggie-colored flowers removed, according to Markus Hogue, program coordinator for Irrigation and Water Conservation.
Hogue said no one from A&M or UT has come forward to take responsibility for planting the maroon bluebonnets.
“The more information I receive regarding the maroon bluebonnets, the more I feel that we have been pranked by an Aggie,” Hogue said. “[Jerry] Parsons and Greg Grant from A&M created the maroon color. Dr. Parsons said … that the maroon color is a recessive trait, and that the blue color will take over the landscape beds. I have noticed each year that the maroon color has grown in size, which means someone is adding more seeds each year.”
Parsons, a former horticulturist at A&M, said the maroon bluebonnet variant came about as a mistake. He also said the flowers’ presence on the UT campus was not a deliberate affront to the school.
“They are not a prank but rather a seed mix-up during packaging by the producer,” Parsons said.
Government junior Will Griffin, who is also a member of Texas Cowboys, one of the University’s spirit groups, said he does not feel offended on behalf of the University.
“I don’t feel slighted,” Griffin said. “I find it funny that, if it is a prank, Aggie students come all this way and disrespect our state flower just to put some maroon on the Texas campus.”
Hogue said University officials have decided to remove the flowers — although a date for removal is still undecided — because of threats of student interference.
“A few students have stated that, if we do not remove them, they will take it upon themselves to remove them,” Hogue said. “We hope this does not happen, since we want to collect the seeds and limit the chance of more growing next year.”
Hogue said, if students pull out the flowers themselves, the variant could still reproduce from seeds left in the ground.
Business sophomore Lindsey Lunden, who is in Texas Sweethearts, a spirit group on campus, said the alleged prank is far from an Aggie victory.
“While the flowers are an unappealing color, the Aggies are going to have to do a lot more than just planting flowers to take away even a little bit of my school pride,” Lunden said.