Examples of monocotyledons, or monocots, are wheat, rice and other cereal crops. Bamboo, palm trees, bananas, ginger and members of the allium family, such as onion and garlic, are also monocots. Other members of this group include lilies, irises, tulips and daffodils. Orchids account for the largest group of monocots, with over 20,000 species.
The sprouts or seedlings of monocots produce only one embryonic leaf, while dicots like roses and magnolias produce two.
Wheat and other cereal crops have been part of the human diet for millennia. Some scientists believe that humans began eating wild wheat as early as 70,000 B.C. Rice is also a staple food in many areas of the world. It is most often grown in wet places, but some types of rice can be grown on drier land.
Palm trees grow mostly in warmer areas of the world. Some, like date palms and coconut palms, are cultivated for their fruit. Other species are grown as garden specimens or house plants, such as the parlor palm.
Orchids are grown chiefly for their beauty, though one orchid is the source of the vanilla bean. Many orchids are epiphytes, meaning that they grow on trees and get their nutrients from the moisture that falls on their bare roots.