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
  • 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 (USDA Plant Profile: Linum lewisii). It grows on ridges and dry slopes, from sea level in the north up to 11,000 ft (3,400 m) in the Sierra Nevada.[2][3][4]

The plant was named for North American explorer Meriwether Lewis.[5]

It is a slender herbaceous plant growing to 80 cm tall, with spirally arranged narrow lanceolate leaves 1–2 cm long. The flowers are pale blue or lavender to white, often veined in darker blue, with five petals 1–1.5 cm long.[4][6][7][8]


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.[5]

Some Native Americans used the fibers to make cordage.[9]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Steven. K. (2015). "Linum lewisii". Wildflower Search. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  3. ^ "Linum lewisii". PLANTS Database. United States Department of Agriculture; Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2015. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  4. ^ a b Norman F. Weeden (1996). A Sierra Nevada Flora (4th ed.). Wilderness Press.
  5. ^ a b Reiner, Ralph E. (1969). Introducing the Flowering Beauty of Glacier National Park and the Majestic High Rockies. Glacier Park, Inc. p. 98.
  6. ^ a b Klinkenberg, Brian (Editor) (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.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ a b c Giblin, David (Editor) (2015). "Linum lewisii". WTU Herbarium Image Collection. Burke Museum, University of Washington. Retrieved 2018-01-17.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Linum lewisii". Jepson eFlora: Taxon page. Jepson Herbarium; University of California, Berkeley. 2015. Retrieved 2018-01-17.
  9. ^ 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 1-4930-3633-5. OCLC 1073035766.