[The Flax Family East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax

Linum lewisii var. lewisii

Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii

Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii)

Western blue flax beginning to bloom along the Alder Springs Trail #855, Crooked River National Grasslands......May 11, 2018.
Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii) Western blue flax from Iron Mt in the western Cascades, east of Eugene, OR....7/14/90.

Characteristics:

Also known as wild blue flax, western blue flax is a pretty western wildflower often used in wildflower gardens. It is a popular seed in wildflower mixes, although plants may actually be the eurasian species, Linum perenne. The numerous stems grow from 15-80 cm in height from a taproot. The herbage is glabrous or often glaucous. The leaves are numerous and usually longer than the internodes. The are linear in outline, 1-nerved and from 1-3 cm long and 1-3 mm wide.

The inflorescence is a raceme. The pedicels are erect to suberect and 0.5-2 cm long at flowering. The sepals are elliptic to elliptic-ovate in shape with entire margines. The flowers are large, blue-petaled with whitish to yellowish bases. They measure 12-23 mm long and are somewhat wedge-shaped to obovate in shape. The styles are typically about equal to the stamens.


Habitat:

Western blue flax is found on dry, well-drained ground from lower grasslands to the higher alpine ridges.


Range:

Western blue flax is found across much of the northern hemisphere. Variety lewisii is the native species found across much of western North America.


Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii)

Western blue flax in bloom along the steep, first quarter mile of the trail from the Steens Mountain summit down to Wildhorse Lake, Harney County, Oregon.........July 10, 2014.

Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii) - Flower of Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii)

Western blue flax as seen along Forest Service Road #2230 between Mount Pisgah and East Point, Ochoco National Forest.........August 13, 2015.

Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii)

Western blue flax still in bloom amongst early snow patches on the west rim of the Kiger Gorge, Steens Mountain...........September 19, 2015.

Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii) - Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii) - Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii)

Western blue flax blooming (left) on slopes above the east side of Bond Creek several hundred meters south of Hot Springs Campground, Hart Mt. National Antelope Refuge..........June 11, 2016. The photos at center and at right show western blue flax in bloom along the road paralleling Rock Creek in Hot Springs Campground, Hart Mt. National Antelope Refuge........June 9, 2016.

Flower of Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii)

Western blue flax at pass level on the Frances Lake Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness.........July 1997.

Western Blue Flax, Prairie Flax, Wild Blue Flax: Linum lewisii var. lewisii (Synonym: Linum perenne var. lewisii)

Western blue flax from the Frances Lake Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness.......July 25, 1997.
Paul Slichter