Linum lewisii, commonly known as blue flax, is a useful restoration perennial, with superb garden qualities. The multitude of blue blossoms lasts up to 6 weeks, and adds lovely mid-height color. The foliage stays close to the ground growing under two feet tall, while the flowers reach above about a foot. It spreads at a moderate rate, and is not known to be invasive. In the wild, blue flax is a forage plant for large mammals and can be found from 1300-9500 ft (400-3000 m), preferring hot sunny locations.
Used in native plantings specifically for erosion-control and fire suppressant landscapes, blue flax is an advantageous perennial. Linum lewisii has been known to compete successfully with spotted knapweed, an invasive colonizer and noxious weed of North America.
Linum lewisii is closely related and similar to the cultivated flax, as both are used medicinally and consumed for health benefits. Caution should always be taken as the seeds, unless treated correctly, contain poisonous cyanogenic compounds.
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