Linum lewisii

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Linum lewisii
In Elena Gallegos Picnic Area, Albuquerque, NM

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification Edit this classification
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 flowers open in the morning and fade, dropping their petals by noon on hot, sunny days.[9]

The plant was named for North American explorer Meriwether Lewis.[10]


Blue flax is a durable wildflower in garden conditions, never becoming overly aggressive towards other plants. Plants are easily grown from seed.[9] Blue flax grows well in lean soils without much organic matter and are healthier in well drained soils.[11]


  1. ^ "Linum lewisii Pursh". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 30 May 2023.
  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 Barr, Claude A. (1983). Jewels of the plains : wild flowers of the Great Plains grasslands and hills. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-8166-1127-0.
  10. ^ Reiner, Ralph E. (1969). Introducing the Flowering Beauty of Glacier National Park and the Majestic High Rockies. Glacier Park, Inc. p. 98.
  11. ^ "Blue flax". Fine Gardening. The Taunton Press, Inc. Retrieved 30 May 2023.