The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

V Bar V Range Program

Blue Collar Plants

If you clicked on this page you may be wondering what in the world is a “blue collar” plant? You’ve probably heard of Blue Grama, Bluegrass, or Blue Agave, maybe even collard greens (Ok that’s a stretch)… but, Blue Collar Plants? The explanation is that Blue Collar Plants is just our pet name for a collaborative project between the V Bar V Range Program (field lab herbarium) and the Yavapai County Master Gardeners (Yavapai County Native and Naturalized Plants project). Back in 2008, it turns out that both groups were working on plant identification aids available via the internet. The Master Gardeners wanted a tool their volunteers could easily access when clients brought in a plant for identification in the county extension offices and the V Bar V wanted a collection of images that depict range plants the way ranchers and range managers most often see them, i.e. “with their working clothes on”. How often have you needed to identify a plant that did not have an inflorescence or had been grazed, burned, or drought stressed? Were you able to find a picture in a book or website that looked like what you were looking for? Was there enough of the plant there to even key out? Most good field botanists have certain characteristics they look for to help identify plants out in the pasture in such situations. Our intent in this project is to capture high quality images of plants in a variety of states and stages and to make them easy to search for on the webpage. Working people, working plants. Thus, the blue collar name seemed to fit and the partnership made sense. For more information about Blue Collar Plants see the January 2010 issue of the Rimrock Report and to get started using the site, click here or the icon at the top of the page.

These images of Sideoats Grama are an example of what we are trying to provide in the Blue Collar Plants project. We will print such images to hard copy or to our tablet PC when we are going out in the field to monitor an unfamiliar site or, when working with a group of people who are new to range plant identification and monitoring. We hope you find them useful as well.

Blue Collar Plant image

Leaf blade, parallel hairs near collar/node, autumn color, Southern Yavapai County

Blue Collar Plant image

Grazed plant, characteristic “zig zag” panicle without seeds, late summer, V Bar V Ranch

Blue Collar Plant image

Robust stand of mature plants, summer, V Bar V Ranch

Single mature plant, summer, east central Yavapai County

Re-growing from earlier grazing, summer, V Bar V Ranch

Single plant, autumn color, southern Yavapai County 

Grazed plant, winter color, characteristic curled leaves, V Bar V Ranch

Grazed plant, note “bumps” along leaf blade where hairs would be when green, winter, V Bar V Ranch