Scientific Name: Linum lewisii
Synonym: Linum perenne ssp. lewisii
Common Names: Lewis Flax, Prairie Flax, Western Blue Flax
Growth Habit: Subshrub, Herb/Forb
Arizona Native Status: Native
Habitat: Desert (upper), Upland, Mountain. This attractive wildflower mainly grows in upland areas, but it can also be found in higher elevation desert areas.
Flower Color: Blue, White
Flowering Season: Spring, Summer
Height: To 3 feet (91 cm) tall
Description: The flowers are up to 2 inches (5 cm) across and homostylous (styles of all the same length) and have 5 broad, fan-shaped petals, styles longer than the stamens, 5 arrowhead-shaped anthers, and 5 spherical stigmas. The leaves are single-veined and linear to lanceolate in shape.
The similar Meadow Flax (Linum pratense) grows at lower elevations and has narrower, very pale blue petals and shorter styles.
Edible – The seeds are edible, but only if cooked. The raw, uncooked seeds are poisonous. The cooked seeds have a nutty flavor and a high oil content.
Poisonous – Although the plants and raw, uncooked seeds contain a cyanogenetic substance (a substance capable of making cyanide) and are somewhat poisonous, animals will feed on the foliage and seeds, but they do avoid the fruit.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Linaceae – Flax family
Genus: Linum L. – flax
Species: Linum lewisii Pursh – Lewis flax
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