What are the differences between monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants?

Monocotyledons:

  • Embryos have a single seed leaf, referred to as a cotyledon - hence the name mono (one) cotyledon
  • Leaves have parallel venation and are generally strap-like in appearance
  • Flowers have petals and floral parts in multiples of three
  • In the stem, vascular bundles are scattered and absence of vascular cambium explains absence of secondary growth
  • A pollen grain with one opening
  • Root system is generally fibrous, shallow and adventitious
  • Stomata can be found on both epidermal layers of monocot leaves. This condition is called amphistomatic
  • Examples of monocot plants are: (grasses) most ornamental turf lawns, (bamboo's) ornamental and wild bamboo's inlcuding sugar cane, (grain plants) rye, rice, wheat, maize (bulbous plants) such as lilies, agapanthus, clivia, orchid varieties, most palm tree varieties

It should be noted that Monocotyledonous plants make up one huge slice of the worlds cereal/ edible crops, the staple diet of literally Billions of people and animals!

Dicotyledons:

  • Embryos have two seed leaves, referred to as cotyledons - hence the name di (two) cotyledon - although dicots now known as eudicots, most people still use the term "dicot"
  • Leaves have branched venation
  • Flowers have petals and floral parts in multiples of four or five
  • In the stem, the vascular tissue is arranged circularly and presence of vascular cambium explains ability to effect secondary growth
  • A pollen grain with three openings
  • Root system is generally branched, but taproot based
  • Stomata can only be found in the lower epidermis. So, we describe it as hypostomatic condition
  • Examples of dicot plants include: (veg) tomatos, peppers, cabbage, beans, peas, (flowers) sunflowers, roses, daisies, violets, petunia, pansy (fruit) apples, pears, cherries, avocardo

See the pictorial link showing the differences between mono and dicots - PDF file so you need Acrobat to view it.