MONOCOTILEDONEAL PLANTS: What They Are, Examples and Characteristics

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One of the most used classifications at an academic level among the angiosperm plants, or flowering plants, is what serves to differentiate between monocots and dicots. These two words, which may sound somewhat strange, represent two large groups of plants with very important differences between them.

In this Green Ecologist article, we are going to focus on monocot plants. So if you want to learn more about these, keep reading this article about the what are monocotyledonous plants, their characteristics, examples and differences with dicotyledonous plants.

What is a cotyledon - simple definition

Cotyledons are nothing other than that first primitive leaf that plants produce in their embryo form. It is what will be your first tool with which to collect sunlight and be able to photosynthesize, which is why this small leaf called cotyledon is so important.

Learn more about this topic in this Green Ecologist article about What is a cotyledon, its characteristics and functions.

What are monocotyledonous plants - characteristics

The monocotyledonous plants are characterized, as their name suggests, by having a single cotyledon. But this is far from being its only difference from dicots.

Monocots grow very differently from their two-cotyledon relatives. This is mainly due to the fact that these they don't have cambium, without which the production of wood is not possible and, therefore, they do not develop a trunk as such, but a main and thickest stem. For example, if you cut the "trunk" of a palm tree, you will not see annual growth rings as you do in shrubs and trees.

Another important difference occurs in the roots of the plant. In monocots the roots are adventitious, which means that all of them are born from the base of the stem itself. This makes their root system much less extensive and of a shorter reach, so it goes little deep and, therefore, they cannot develop a large number of branches either.

The last of the basic characteristics of monocots is that all their leaves show visible veins, which run parallel to each other.

Monocotyledonous plants: examples

It is very likely that many of the monocot plant names that we mention below sound a lot to you. Let's see some examples of plants of this type:

Canarian palm tree

The Phoenix canariensis It is a palm native to the Canary Islands, as its name suggests. This large plant can reach up to 13 meters in height, with leaves up to 7 meters in length. It shows a large trunk that sometimes reaches and even exceeds one meter in diameter, and it is a very popular plant in gardening due to its great resistance to both high and low temperatures.


There are believed to be around 150 species of tulips, not counting their huge number of hybrids. These bulbous plants, which have their origin in the Middle East, are highly appreciated in gardening and decoration as ornamental flowers, since their colors are very striking and vivid. They are well-known flowering plants, so if you like them and want to have them at home, we recommend this guide on How to care for potted tulips.


The paradisiacal muse is a herbaceous plant that grows up to 4 meters in height, showing large leaves that reach 2 meters in length. It has its origin in the Indomalayan region, and it is known above all for its fruit: the banana, which is consumed in a large number of countries.


Scientific name Bambusoideae, This plant from China is well known for its great growth capacity. Its woody stems have traditionally been used to create furniture and structures of all kinds. There are bamboos that do not exceed one meter in height, while the largest can reach 25 meters.

Differences between monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants

These are the main differences between monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants:

  • The main difference is the one that gives their name to both: while monocots produce a single cotyledon in their embryonic stage, dicots emit two cotyledons.
  • In addition, dicotyledonous plants make their first root continue to grow as a primary root while producing other secondary ones, while in monocots, as we have already mentioned above, all roots start from the stem.
  • Finally, dicotyledonous plants can produce wood, so they have a true trunk. All of them show annual rings on their trunk and branches.

If you want to read more articles similar to Monocotyledonous plants: what they are and examples, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

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