Kentucky Bluegrass isn’t from Kentucky and it isn’t blue. It is also known as smooth meadow grass and by other names.
Poa pratensis is, like so many Americans, an immigrant. It occurs naturally in Europe, parts of northern Asia and the mountains of Algeria and Morocco.
It’s not clear how it got to the Americas or how it got to Kentucky. It may have come as seeds mixed in with forage carried along with horses and other livestock brought across the Atlantic. It has come to characterize a sizable chunk of Kentucky, the Bluegrass area.
The grass spreads by rhizomes and makes a dense sod, and makes fine grazing for the famed Kentucky race horses. A large number of cultivars of the grass have been developed for different climactic and environmental niches.
But there’s another aspect of its history. The legendary country singer Bill Monroe was from Kentucky. In 1938 he formed the band The Blue Grass Boys. His kind of music has come to be called Bluegrass, one of the enduring and unique flavors of American music. An American traditional music named after an immigrant.
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