Linum lewisii

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Linum lewisii
Linum lewisii, blue flax, Albuquerque.JPG
In Elena Gallegos Picnic Area, Albuquerque, NM
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Linaceae
Genus: Linum
L. lewisii
Binomial name
Linum lewisii
  • Adenolinum lewisii Kellogg
  • Linum decurrens Kellogg
  • Linum lyallanum Alef.

Linum lewisii (Linum perenne var. lewisii) (Lewis flax, blue flax or prairie flax) is a perennial plant in the family Linaceae, native to western North America from Alaska south to Baja California, and from the Pacific Coast east to the Mississippi River.[2] It grows on ridges and dry slopes, from sea level in the north up to 11,000 feet (3,400 metres) in the Sierra Nevada.[3][4][5]

It is a slender herbaceous plant growing to 80 centimetres (31+12 inches) tall, with spirally arranged narrow lanceolate leaves 1–2 cm (1234 in) long. The flowers are pale blue or lavender to white, often veined in darker blue, with five petals 1–1.5 cm long.[5][6][7][8]

The plant was named for North American explorer Meriwether Lewis.[9]


Linum lewisii is extremely durable, even aggressive, in favorable conditions, successfully seeding even into established lawns.


According to Melvin R. Gilmore, the seeds were gathered by Native Americans and cooked for their flavor and nutritious quality.[9]

Some Native Americans used the fibers to make cordage.[10]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  2. ^ USDA Plant Profile: Linum lewisii
  3. ^ Sullivan, Steven. K. (2015). "Linum lewisii". Wildflower Search. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  4. ^ "Linum lewisii". PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture; Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2015. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  5. ^ a b Norman F. Weeden (1996). A Sierra Nevada Flora (4th ed.). Wilderness Press. ISBN 9780899972046.
  6. ^ a b Klinkenberg, Brian, ed. (2014). "Linum lewisii". E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia []. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  7. ^ a b c Giblin, David, ed. (2015). "Linum lewisii". WTU Herbarium Image Collection. Burke Museum, University of Washington. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  8. ^ "Linum lewisii". Jepson eFlora: Taxon page. Jepson Herbarium; University of California, Berkeley. 2015. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  9. ^ a b Reiner, Ralph E. (1969). Introducing the Flowering Beauty of Glacier National Park and the Majestic High Rockies. Glacier Park, Inc. p. 98.
  10. ^ Fagan, Damian (2019). Wildflowers of Oregon: A Field Guide to Over 400 Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of the Coast, Cascades, and High Desert. Guilford, CT: FalconGuides. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-4930-3633-2. OCLC 1073035766.