Kentucky State Symbols
According to Watchtutorials, Kentucky is often referred to as the “Bluegrass State” due to the abundance of bluegrass in the state. Bluegrass is a type of grass that has a bluish-purple hue when viewed from a distance. It is native to Kentucky and grows abundantly throughout the state. The nickname came about because of the blue-green color of the grass when it’s seen in large fields or open meadows. It is also believed that the name comes from a poem written in 1792 by Reverend Thomas Hart called “The Blue Grass Region of Kentucky”.
According to Beautyphoon, the nickname has been used since at least 1818 when John Filson, an early explorer and settler, referred to Kentucky as “the land of bluegrass”. Since then, it has been used in many ways including on license plates and official documents. In fact, since 2004, Kentucky has used “Unbridled Spirit” as its official slogan but many still refer to it as “The Bluegrass State” out of habit and tradition. The nickname has come to symbolize not only Kentucky’s beautiful landscape but also its strong sense of pride and independence among its citizens.
The state bird of Kentucky is the Northern Cardinal. The Northern Cardinal is a beautiful and vibrant bird that can be found in many parts of the United States. It has a bright red body with a black mask around its eyes, and a black crest on its head. Its wings are dark brown, and its tail is long and pointed. Male cardinals are more brightly colored than females, but both have the same distinctive features. The northern cardinal can reach up to 8 inches in length, with a wingspan of up to 12 inches. It has short thick legs with sharp claws at the end for perching on branches or clinging to feeders. This species feeds mainly on seeds, fruits, insects and other small invertebrates. They often visit backyard feeders where they are very popular among birdwatchers. Cardinals also nest in shrubs or trees near water sources such as rivers or streams. They build their nests out of twigs, grasses, leaves and other materials they find nearby. The female lays anywhere from three to four eggs which she incubates for up to 14 days before they hatch. After hatching it takes another two weeks for the young cardinals to fledge from the nest and become independent birds on their own!
The state flower of Kentucky is the goldenrod. It is a hardy perennial that grows to about 3 feet tall and has bright yellow flowers. The goldenrod blooms in late summer and early fall, adding a splash of color to the landscape. The flowers are clustered in small heads on top of long, narrow stems. Each flower head contains hundreds of tiny yellow flowers with very short tubes and long, thin petals. The leaves are alternate and lance-shaped, with smooth edges and a pointed tip. They are green at the base but become gray-green towards the top. Goldenrod is an important source of nectar for many pollinators, including bees, butterflies, moths and hummingbirds. It also provides shelter for beneficial insects such as ladybugs and lacewings that feed on pests like aphids.
The state tree of Kentucky is the tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). This is an impressive and majestic tree, reaching heights of up to 160 feet tall and living for hundreds of years. The tulip poplar has a straight trunk with a pyramidal shape and large, four-lobed leaves that turn yellow in the fall. Its flowers are bright yellow-green with orange markings and bloom in late spring. The tree produces oblong fruits with winged seeds that are dispersed by the wind. The wood of the tulip poplar is light in color, strong, and durable, making it useful for furniture and cabinetry. It is also used as a source of pulpwood for paper production. The bark is smooth when young but becomes scaly as the tree ages. Its shallow root system makes it vulnerable to wind damage but also allows it to easily absorb water from rain or irrigation. In addition to being Kentucky’s state tree, the tulip poplar is also found throughout much of Eastern North America from Maine to Florida and westward into Texas.