Texas bluebonnets in Brazil, via Oak Cliff

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Mulcahy

Oak Cliff-based artists Cynthia Mulcahy and Robert Hamilton sowed a little bit of Texas in Rio de Janeiro.

The married couple spend every August below the equator, and this year, they are performing a public art project that involves Texas bluebonnets.

Mulcahy and Hamilton worked with a cultural center in Rio to invite community members to assemble seed packets containing bluebonnets, lupinus texensi, including the blue and “Alamo fire” orange varieties. Once the packets were assembled, they walked around neighborhoods, handing out the packets, “in a simple action, a gift of wildflower seeds on a Friday winter afternoon.” Because it’s wintertime in Brazil, y’all.

Mulcahy has created similar projects in the past, including the “Seventeen Hundred Seeds” sunflower garden on West Davis two years ago.

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  • Lupinus texensis (Texas Bluebonnet) is endemic to Texas. There are some 200 species in the genus, and some of those are considered invasive weeds when outside their native ranges. Unless there’s a strange pocket of native Texas Bluebonnets thriving in Rio, I still stick to my reticence at supporting what superficially appears to be a great project. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, no? I love the spirit behind the project, but I can’t support the execution unless you can show me they are planting species native to the Rio region. Perhaps a native Lupine species would be more appropriate.

  • You’re right! Most countries forbid this practice, in order to protect native species. Try brining plants or seeds into this country without a permit…

  • While I applaud the intent, and appreciate the short-term beauty this project will impart, I am very concerned about the introduction of non-native species and the potential devastation on the native ecosystem. There are hundreds of cases of misplaced good intentions that have resulted in foreign plants and animals doing tremendous harm to local species.

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