All About Monocots, Including Examples of Monocot Seeds

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Monocot seeds include garlic, onion, corn, rice, wheat, asparagus, lilies and orchids. These seeds are classified as monocots because they only have one cotyledon inside of their seeds

Monocots are one of the two main groups of flowering plants. Some botanists may argue that the differences between monocots and dicots are not as cut and dry as they’d like. For example, although there are major differences between the two, one single characteristic isn’t enough to absolutely identify a plant as a monocot. There may be some overlap in traits. Botanists typically look at all of the characteristics as a whole to figure out which class a plant belongs in.

Basic Characteristics of Monocots vs. Dicots Monocots and dicots have seven major differences. These include:

  • The number of cotyledon: Monocots have one, dicots have two.
  • The number of pollen furrows or pores: Monocots have one, dicots have three.
  • The number of flower parts: Monocots have flower parts in multiples of three while dicots have parts in multiples of four or five.
  • The leaf veins: The major veins on a monocot are parallel while dicots have reticulated veins.
  • The vascular bundles in the stems: Monocots are scattered, dicots occur in a ring.
  • The way the roots develop: Monocots develop their roots adventitiously from stem nodes instead of radicles, which is where roots develop in dicots.
  • Secondary growth: Monocots don’t produce wood or any type of secondary growth. Dicots typically do.

What Are Cotyledons? If you’re going to count the number of cotyledons, it helps to know what they are. These are the first leaves a flowering plant produces, and they’re often called seed leaves because they’re part of the seed, not really party of the mature plant. These leaves give the plant access to the seed’s stored nutrients to nourish it until the plant develops its true leaves. True leaves are those which do the work of photosynthesis.

More About Monocots Monocots are also known as monocotyledonous seeds. These seeds often produce plants with narrow and long leaves. This group of flowering plants makes up about 25 percent of all flowering plants, including most grains and plants with bulbs. Orchids make up the largest family of monocots, with tens of thousands of species, while grasses are arguably among the most important family of monocots because they provide food and aid wind pollination.

Examples include:

  • Agapanthus
  • Bamboo
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Lilies
  • Wheat
  • Orchids
  • Ginger
  • Sugarcane
  • Rice
  • Palms
  • Agave

Palms and agave plants are unique among monocots because they form a special alternative to bark and wood. Their trunks are made of leaf bases that overlap and thickened cells that are larger that normal.

More About Dicots Dicots, or dicotyledonous seeds, have two cotyledons and contain endosperms inside of their seeds. They produce plants with thick, wide leaves. Examples of dicot seeds include peppers, cabbage, turnips, tomatoes, apples, carrots, potatoes and celery. Dicots produce large leaves, which in turn nourish new dicot seeds.

What About Plants Without Cotyledons? There are plants that don’t have cotyledons, placing them squarely outside the monocot vs. dicot grouping. These are nonflowering plants. Examples include those that form spores like ferns or those like evergreens that form cones instead of cotyledons.