Monocots & Dicots

Topics: Flowering plant, Flower, Plant morphology Pages: 6 (1553 words) Published: December 31, 2012

Monocot plants are one of the two major botanical classes of flowering plants, or angiosperms. The other class includes the dicot flowering plants. These fundamental classes were given formal taxonomic standing by botanists in the mid-17th century, replacing previous plant classification systems that were based on growth form. Roughly one-fourth of all flowering plant species are monocots, including a number of species important to humans as food plants or ornamentals

Distinct Flowers
Monocots have distinctive morphological features that set them apart from the dicots. The flowers of monocot plants typically have petals, stamens and other floral parts in threes or multiples of three such as six or nine. Dicots have flower parts in multiples of four or five. The pollen grains from monocot flowers have a single furrow through the outer layers, while dicot pollen grains have three furrows. However, some monocots have features of dicots and some dicots have features of monocots, meaning there's a "fuzzy" border between these classes.

Leaves and Stems
The leaves of monocot plants tend to be elongated, with leaf veins running parallel along the leaf length. Dicot leaves tend to be more rounded with a network of auxiliary veins between the main veins. The vascular tissue in plant stems occurs in long strands called vascular bundles. In monocot plants, a cross section of the stem shows vascular bundles randomly scattered in the stem but with more toward the perimeter. In dicot plants, the vascular bundles are arranged in a column and show as a ring in a cross section of the stem.

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Cotyledon Count
Cotyledons are the "seed leaves" within a seed that support and feed the embryo with the nutrients packed within the seed until the embryo produces its first leaves and begins photosynthesis. Seeds of monocot plants have a single cotyledon and often sprout a single leaf. Seeds of dicot plants have two cotyledons and often sprout two leaves. Monocot plants don't produce wood to support themselves. Instead, they evolved specialized leaves that serve as a support structure.

Monocot Examples
Monocot plants are all around us. The grass on your lawn is an example of a monocot plant. Flowering monocots include more than 20,000 species of orchids as well as bulb perennials such as lilies, irises, daffodils, hyacinths, crocus and tulips. Aloe vera, with its useful medicinal properties, is another monocot. Most cereal grains are monocots, including corn, barley, oats, rice and wheat. Other monocot food plants include date palms, bananas, onions, yams, pineapple and ginger. By contrast, dicots include most vegetables, fruits and legumes.

Read more: What Are Monocot Plants? |


Difference Between Monocot and Dicot Plants

By Samantha Belyeu, eHow Contributor

The terms monocot and dicot are abbreviated forms of monocotyledon and dicotyledon. A cotyledon is the leaf-like structure that a flowering plant first produces when it germinates. At its root, the distinction between monocots and dicots is the number of cotyledons it produces upon germination: one cotyledon makes a plant a monocot, and two cotyledons makes a plant a dicot. But there are other differences between these two plant types. Does this Spark an idea?

Flowering Parts
All monocots and dicots are flowering plants; these terms are used to classify flowering plants only into two distinct groups. There are distinctions in the flowering parts of monocots and dicots in pollen structure and the number of petals and sepals. Monocots have a single furrow in their pollen grains, and the number of petals and sepals on the flower is a multiple of 3 -- such as 3 or 6. Dicots have three furrows in each pollen grain, and the number of...
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