A native plant of Kentucky, the golden fronds of this wildflower are abundant throughout the state in early autumn, bringing a yellow " fringe" to Kentucky's highways and country roads. Of the 100 species of this plant, 30 are found in Kentucky.
The pleasant melodies of this red-crested songbird are heard year-round in Kentucky, while the male's brilliant red plumage brightens Kentucky woods with splashes of crimson. (The female is light brown with red highlights.)
Kentucky Coffee Tree or Tulip Tree
The State Tree used to be the Kentucky Coffee Tree until the state's Bicentennial in 1992 when they changed it to the Tulip tree or Tulip Poplar tree. We were told by a Kentucky historian that the State Tree was originally the Tulip tree and changed to the Coffee tree in the late 1800s. During the Bicentennial it was decided to change it back. But if you ask a Kentuckian what their State Tree is, they still say the "Coffee Tree."
The two people shaking hands ties in with the state motto "United We Stand, Divided We Fall." The state flower, goldenrod is also on the flag. Kentucky is one of four states that refers to itself as a commonwealth rather than a state. Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are the others.
"For more than half a century... this Union has stood unshaken.... Whatever dangers may threaten it, I shall stand by it and maintain it... "
Message to Congress 1849
Although he was born in Virginia in 1784, he was immediately whisked off to Kentucky to join his father who had just purchased 10,000 acres of land in Louisville. Second cousin to James Madison, Taylor got into politics via a different route than the Virginia statesman: he battled his way to the White House. He was a tough, no-nonsense military man. Having begun his army career in the War of 1812 as a young, 24-year old lieutenant, he served in almost every war and battle for the next 40 years, rising to national hero when he consistently beat the Mexicans in 1846. "Old Rough and Ready" was a tobacco-chewing army General with no formal education and no political experience. In fact, he had never even voted in an election. Yet he believed in the country he had defended for so many years. When southern congressmen threatened trouble if California was admitted as a free state, President Taylor, a slave owner himself, warned that he would "lead the army against them" and they would be "hanged for treason." Taylor bravely took a strong stand on an issue his predecessors tried so desperately to avoid. He died in office after serving only one year.