E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Linum lewisii Pursh
Lewis Blue Flax (Lewis flax; western blue flax)
Linaceae (Flax family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #88125)

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Distribution of Linum lewisii
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Linum lewisii ssp. lewisii

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a woody stem-base and a taproot; stems erect, usually several, simple, glabrous, 10-60 cm tall.
Stem leaves alternate, linear, 1-3 cm long, 1-3 mm wide, 3-nerved only at the bases.
Inflorescence of saucer-shaped flowers in a loose, terminal cluster on stalks 10-13 mm long; petals blue, 10-23 mm long, soon deciduous; sepals rounded at the tips, 4-7 mm long, the margins membranous, entire; styles heterostylic (of varying lengths).
Capsules, more or less round, 10-celled, 5-8 mm long; seeds 3.5-4.5 mm long, beakless.
The closely related European herb, L. perenne presently occurs in a population at Knox Mtn., Kelowna. It differs mainly in having styles of uniform size.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry meadows and forest openings from the lowland and steppe to subalpine zones; frequent in SC and NE BC, less frequent in SW and SE BC; N to AK, YT and NT, E to PQ and S to NM, AZ, CA and MX.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Linum lewisii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 410 887 2133
Slope Gradient (%) 0 28 76
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
4 225 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 4
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(12), BWBS(1), ESSF(1), IDF(31), PP(7)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References