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Linum lewisii

Linum lewisii variety lewisii. Synonym: Adenolinum lewisii. (Blue Flax) 
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Woodlands, openings, meadows.
Spring, summer, fall.
Near Silverton, July 2, 2007.

Linum lewisii
Linum lewisii variety lewisii. Synonym: Adenolinum lewisii. (Blue Flax) 
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Woodlands, openings, meadows. Spring, summer, fall.
Near the Dolores-Norwood Road, June 15, 2006.

Linum lewisii grows up to three feet tall, with long slender stems that often lean, especially as buds develop and weigh down the tops of the stems.  Stems can have from just five or six buds to dozens. Flower buds open shortly after sunrise and last just part of the day; the number of hours the flower stays open depends on the intensity of the sun.  On warm, sunny days, most flowers will drop their petals by early afternoon.  On cloudy days, flowers may last until quite late in the afternoon.  

In open woods, plants can be few and slender; in sunny meadows, plants can be numerous and robust. Weeks after the plants flower, dozens of buff colored round seed capsules follow.

Famed explorer and naturalist, Meriwether Lewis, collected the first specimen of this plant for science in 1806 in the Rockies and it was named Linum lewisii by Frederick Pursh in 1814.  (More biographical information about Lewis.)  The plant has gone through a number of name changes and in 1982 Löve and Löve named it Adenolinum lewisii, the name that William Weber accepts.  Most other botanists, including John Kartesz, the ultimate authority for all names on this web site, accept the name Linum lewisii.  The genus name Linum was given by Linnaeus in 1753, probably for the Eurasian species, Linum perenne, which is very similar to the species shown on this page.  "Aden" refers to glands on the plant and "linum" to "linen" as this is a member of the family that gives us linen.

See also Linum aristatum and Linum puberulum.

Linum lewisii
Linum lewisii variety lewisii. Synonym: Adenolinum lewisii. (Blue Flax) 
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Woodlands, openings, meadows. Spring, summer, fall.
Near the Dolores-Norwood Road, June 15, 2001.

Linum lewisii
Linum lewisii variety lewisii. Synonym: Adenolinum lewisii. (Blue Flax) 
Linaceae (Flax Family)

Semi-desert, foothills, montane, subalpine. Woodlands, openings, meadows. Spring, summer, fall.
Mesa Verde National Park, along road, May 16, 2006.

Flower color can vary from pale blue, to blue/lavender, to dark blue/purple, to silken sheen blue.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated

Questionable presence

Range map for Linum lewisii