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Wild Blue Flax · Linum lewisii

Description: This beautiful bright blue perennial herb is found in Oregon on sandy or rocky soil of plains, open mountain slopes and alpine ridges east of the Cascades. Commonly found growing in the company of sagebrush, yellow pine, and bunch grass. Closely spaced stems reach 8 to 32 inches tall. Leaves are alternate, less than 1 3/4 inchs long. Flowers in racemes or pannicles with five sepals, five brilliant blue petals and five stamens, are produced one or two at a time, daily from May to August, resulting in a long summer blooming period. Great for the sunny border or rockery, it appreciates full sun and well-drained soil.

Lewis and Clark collected Blue Flax in Montana on July 6, 1806, two specimens of which still exist. On July 10, 1806, Lewis wrote "I sent the packhorses on with Sergt. Gass. . .they informed us that they had seen a very large bear in the plains which had pursued Segt. Gass and Thomson some distance but their horses enabled them to keep out of it's reach. they were afraid to fire on the bear least their horses throw them as they were unaccustomed to the gun. we killed five deer 3 Elk and a bear today; saw vast herds of buffaloe. . .we hered them bellowing about us all night, vast assemblaghes of wolves. . .both species of prickly pears just in blume."