Flowering plants belong to one of two classifications: monocots or dicots. These names refer to the embryonic leaves, or cotyledons, of a plant. Monocots have one cotyledon, and dicots have two. Monocots include such woodland wildflowers as trilliums, blue flags and trout lillies. The bromeliad is a colorful, tropical monocot. Wild roses, black-eyed Susans, daisies and columbines are among the diverse dicot wildflowers.
When a plant germinates, one or two tiny leaves emerge from the seed -- the cotyledons. These seed leaves are important in distinguishing a flowering plant's classification. Monocots have a single seed leaf while dicots have two. A closer look at the adult leaves of a flowering plant provides another important distinction between classifications. Monocots have many major leaf veins that run parallel to one another. Dicot plants tend towards branching veins, with smaller, auxilliary veins radiating away from major veins.
Another clue is the number of flower parts. Monocot flower parts are in multiples of three while dicots flowers have multiples of four or five. Cutting across the stem of a flowering plant reveals many small spots. These are vascular bundles, and their arrangement differs between monocots and dicots. Monocot stems have a scattering of vascular bundles whereas dicot stems have vascular bundles in a cylinder.