Map of KentuckyKentucky is a state located in the central southeastern United States. Rising in the southeast is the Cumberland Plateau, part of the Appalachian Mountains. Here, the narrow valleys and ridges are covered by dense forest. To the north, the uplands give way to a plain dotted with isolated, conical peaks, known as knobs. This is the Bluegrass region, named after the blue-flowered grass that once grew there. To the west lies the rolling terrain of the Mississippi (or Pennyroyal) Plateau, an area that includes two major coalfields.
The name Kentucky probably comes from the Iroquoian word kenhtake, meaning "meadowlands” or “prairie lands”. Before Europeans first settled in the Bluegrass region, various Native American peoples roamed the countryside—then covered by grasslands interspersed with huge oak trees—hunting herds of bison and other game. In 1776, the area of Virginia that lay beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known as Kentucky County, named after Kentucky River.
Poa pratensis, commonly known as Kentucky bluegrass or smooth meadow-grass, makes excellent pasture. It is also used for lawns in parks and gardens around the world. The flower heads, which bloom when the plant is allowed to grow to its natural height of 60 to 90 cm (2–3 ft), are blue, hence the name “bluegrass”.
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