South Dakota Native Plant Research
Linaceae : Linum lewisii var. lewisii

Linaceae : Linum lewisii var. lewisii


Download Seed: The flat, brown, ovate seeds of flax are 3-4 mm long. (54 KB)

Download Seedling: Two month old seedling of flax. (67 KB)

Download Mature plants (4.3 MB)

Download Vegetative: Leaves are .5 to 3 cm long. (489 KB)

Download Fruiting: The fruit is a subglobose capsule. (483 KB)

Download Flower (1.5 MB)

Family Name


Common Name

Prairie flax. Blue flax

Native American Name

Lakota: čhaŋȟlóǧaŋ nabláǧa


Linum lewisii var. lewisii is a perennial with stems branching at the base and growing 20 to 80 cm in height. The simple, linear to linear lanceolate leaves are 1-3 cm long, alternate above and crowded on the lower portions of the stem where they can appearing whorled. The leaf margins are entire and the apex is pointed. The inflorescence is a panicle with few branches and spreading pedicels. The 5 sepals are green and 3.5-5 mm long. The 5 petals are blue (occasionally white), 10-15 mm long, with the stamens opposite them. The fruit is an ovoid capsule, 5-7 mm long, that separates into 10 segments. Prairie flax blooms from May into August in prairies and on open wooded hillsides in the eastern and western border counties of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Blue flax is a eye-catching addition to a native plant garden with its bright blue flowers. It is easy to grow, is tolerant of a wide range of soils and water availabilities and will establish relatively quickly and spreads via seed. It produces new flowers every day, dropping their petals each afternoon. A very similar plant, L. perenne, is a commonly available plant sold in many stores. This species can become naturalized in and around many towns and cities.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in late summer (Aug.- Sept.)
Germination: No pretreatment need
Vegetative Propagation: Division of the crown
Soils: Light, dry, well-drained, and alkaline soils
Light: Full sun to partial shade.
Water: Medium dry to dry, established plants can handle droughts
Notes: Plants will develop flowers in the first season of growth

Linaceae : Linum lewisii var. lewisii