Description: This blue-gray grass in the Poaceae family is native to Africa. Caucasian bluestem can grow to 3 feet tall with dense tufts of leaf blades. The invasive grass blooms much earlier than native bluestems.
Ecological Threat: The invasive bluestem alters soil chemistry and biota which in turn inhibits growth of natives.
Biology & Spread: This grass can be found in many different habitats including disturbed roadsides, pastures, and high-quality prairie. Once this grass is established it is very difficult to eradicate. It can spread by both root and seed.
Threat in Oklahoma: The Caucasian bluestem is less palatable and less nutritious to cattle than its native competitors. Because it is not cattle’s preferred feed it has an advantage over the native grasses. In addition, this invasive can corrupt the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio that thus suppresses the growth of the native plants.