Close-up of Blue Flax flower.
Meadow of Blue Flax flowers.
Blue Flax - Linum lewisiiIn early summer, some of the meadows of Cedar Breaks become almost solid blue as Blue Flax comes into bloom. Each flower lasts only a day but is replaced as more buds open each morning.
This species was discovered by Meriwether Lewis as his expedition approached the Rocky Mountains along the Missouri River. He recognized that it was related to the cultivated flax, an annual, and speculated that it might become a useful crop since, being perennial, it would not have to be planted every year: the tops could simply be harvested each year and then it could regrow from its roots.
Unfortunately, Blue Flax does not produce enough fiber and oil to replace cultivated flax. It was used by Native Americans, however, as a drug and fiber source and it has become a useful ornamental plant in modern native plant gardens.
Last updated: November 21, 2017