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Linum lewisii Pursh
Wild Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Lewis Flax, Lewis's Flax
Linaceae (Flax Family)
USDA Symbol: LILE3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N)
Prairie flax grows 18-30 inches tall. It rarely stands straight up, but rather leans at an angle. Flowers are pale blue, with 5 petals about 1-1 1/2 inches across, veined in darker blue. Each stem produces several flowers, blooming from the bottom upward. The seeds are produced on the lower flowers while those above continue to bloom. The stem is leafy when the plant is young, gradually losing most of its leaves as it matures. Leaves are narrow and about 3/4 inch long.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AK , AR , AZ , CA , CO , ID , KS , LA , MI , MN , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WA , WV , WY
Canada: AB , MB , SK
Native Distribution: Roughly the western 3/4 of North America, from Alaska and subarctic Canada as far south as Durango and Nuevo Leon in northern Mexico
Native Habitat: Woodland,Prairie/Meadow/Field
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sand
BenefitUse Medicinal: Eyewash (Kindscher) Boils, poultice of fresh crushed leaves applied to irritated eyes, wash of tobacco and blue flax to improve hair. (Weiner)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
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Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX
BibliographyBibref 1207 - Earth Medicine, Earth Food (1990) Michael A. Weiner
Bibref 610 - Edible wild plants of the prairie : an ethnobotanical guide (1987) Kindscher, K.
Bibref 946 - Gardening with Prairie Plants: How to Create Beautiful Native Landscapes (2002) Wasowski, Sally
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.4 - Research Update, Wild-Collecting Endangers Natives, Director's Report, Maryland ...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Linum lewisii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Linum lewisii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Linum lewisii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-16
Research By: TWC Staff