A perennial, clump-forming, small, blue-gray graceful grass, with flowering stems to 3 feet tall. It forms dense tufts of smooth, blue-green leaf blades, to 12 inches long and less than 1/4 inch wide with a thickened midvein. The nodes are purple-tinged and may be smooth or with short hairs. It blooms far earlier than our native bluestems. The inflorescence is silvery and reddish-purple, with side branches that are shorter than the central stem (resembling a miniature version of Johnson grass, which blooms at the same time). Blooms late June through July. Similar species: The similarly invasive yellow bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) is larger and has yellow-green leaves that are usually smooth; the leaf sheaths are rounded and leaf blades flat or folded; nodes are either smooth or with short hairs. Although its inflorescence is similar to Caucasian bluestem, the length of the side branches exceeds the length of the central stem.