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Encyclopedia > Monocot
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida

Base Monocots:


Monocotyledons or monocots are a group of flowering plants usually ranked as a class and once called the Monocotyledoneae. This taxonomic grouping is now named Liliopsida after the type genus, Lilium. Flowering plants not included in the Liliopsida are dicotyledons or dicots. These two broad groups are distinguished by the number of cotyledons, or embryonic leaves, in their seeds: dicots have two, and monocots have one.

The monocots are considered to form a monophyletic group which evolved from an early dicot. The earliest fossils presumed to be monocot remains date from the early Cretaceous period. The largest modern monocot family is the Orchidaceae (orchids), plants which have specialized in insect pollination. For this reason many species of orchids produce very complex flower structures. The second largest and perhaps more notable family, the Poaceae (true grasses), have evolved in another direction, becoming highly specialized for wind pollination. Grasses produce small, generally inconspicuous flowers.

In addition to having but one embryonic cotyledon, the monocots are set apart within the flowering plants by a number of other specializations. See how to distinguish a monocot from a dicot.


The APG II classification System, developed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, recognizes ten orders of monocots and two families not yet assigned to any order, and divides these among the Base Monocots and Commelinids:


  • Chase MW, Soltis DE, Soltis PS, Rudall PJ, Fay MF, Hahn WJ, Sullivan S, Joseph J, Molvray M, Kores PJ, Givnish TJ, Sytsma KJ, Pires JC (2000). Higher-level systematics of the monocotyledons: An assessment of current knowledge and a new classification. In: Wilson KL, Morrison DA, eds. Monocots: Systematics and Evolution.. CSIRO, Melbourne. 3-16. ISBN 0643064370

External links

  • Tree of Life Web Project: Monocotyledons (http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Monocotyledons&contgroup=Euangiosperms)

  Results from FactBites:
More on Morphology of the Monocots (0 words)
The vascular strands in monocots are not arranged in a neat ring, as they are in dicots, but are scattered within the stem.
This refers to the arrangement of vascular strands in the stem, which in the case of monocots are scattered in the stem, though more densely packed near the periphery of the stem.
In the monocots, palms, grass-trees, bamboo, pandanes, and yuccas are among the groups which grow as trees.
NationMaster - Encyclopedia: Monocot (507 words)
The monocots are considered to form a monophyletic group which evolved from an early dicot.
The earliest fossils presumed to be monocot remains date from the early Cretaceous period.
In monocot stems, the vascular tissues — the phloem and xylem — are in bundles scattered throughout the stem, and they typically lack a vascular cambium.
  More results at FactBites »



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