L. Michael Hill

Biology 207 and 420,425

Monocots vs Dicots

The flowering plants are divided into two groups.  The Monocotyledonae and the Dicotyledonae.  Below are the five most basic differences that are, for the most part, rather predictive and visible.  Some of these are linked to further discussion.  Also, in the end, click here for a self-examination of this concept.


Monocot Classification Dicot

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3's or multiples of 6, rarely more than six

Flower Parts

4, or 5, or multiples up to 10

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Parallel Venation

Leaf Venation

Netted Venation

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Monocots have scattered vascular bundles throughout the stem.

Internal Stem Anatomy


Dicots have vascular bundles only on the perimeter of the stem.

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Normally the one cotyledon never emerges in germination, being used up by the growing embryo.


Number of Cotyledons Typically,  you can see the two cotyledons when some seeds of this group germinate.  They provide energy for early growth, but dry up as photosynthetic leaves are produced.

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In the Fibrous root system of Monocots, the primary root is almost non-existent. The secondary roots are important in absorption, but are not as deep as the primary root of most dicots. Root System The Tap root system is deep with a long primary root.  Less important secondary roots branch off.

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