Flowering plants are divided into monocots (or monocotyledons) and dicots (or dicotyledons). This comparison examines the morphological differences in the leaves, stems, flowers and fruits of monocots and dicots.

Comparison chart

Dicot versus Monocot comparison chart
Embryo As the name suggests, the dicot embryo has two cotyledons. Monocotyledons have one cotyledon in the embryo.
Leaf venation Leaf veins are reticulated (branched). Leaf veins are parallel.
Flowers Petals in multiples of four or five. May bear fruit ( if tree). Petals in multiples of three.
Root Pattern Taproot system Fibrous roots
Secondary growth Often present Absent
Stem and vascular system Bundles of vascular tissue arranged in a ring. The vascular system is divided into a cortex and stele. Bundles of vascular tissue scattered throughout the stem with no particular arrangement, and has no cortex.
Pollen Pollen with three furrows or pores. Pollen with a single furrow or pore.
Presence or absence of wood Both herbaceous and woody Herbaceous
# of seed leaves 2 seed leaves 1 seed leaf
Examples Legumes (pea, beans, lentils, peanuts) daisies, mint, lettuce, tomato and oak are examples of dicots. Grains, (wheat, corn, rice, millet) lilies, daffodils, sugarcane, banana, palm, ginger, onions, bamboo, sugar, cone, palm tree, banana tree, and grass are examples of plants that are monocots.
Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata) is a monocot
Scarlet Star (Guzmania lingulata) is a monocot

History of the Classification

The classification of flowering plants or angiosperms into two major groups was first published by John Ray in 1682, and later by the botanist Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789, replacing the earlier classifications. According to this classification, flowering plants were divided onto eight major groups, the largest number of species belonging to monocots and dicots.

Seed Coats around embryo

The number of cotyledons differs in the two types of flowering plants, and forms the basis for the main classification of monocots and dicots. Cotyledons are the seed leaves of the embryo and contain nutrition for the embryo until it is able to grow leaves and produce food by the process of photosynthesis. Monocots have only one cotyledon while dicots have two.

Dicot vs Monocot Stem

The vascular system in dicots is divided into a cortex and stele, whereas in monocots these distinct regions are absent. The vascular system is scattered in monocots with no particular arrangement whereas in dicots the vascular bundles consists of primary bundles forming a cylinder in the centre.

Scattered vascular bundles in monocot stem
Scattered vascular bundles in monocot stem
Vascular bundles arranged in concentric circles in dicot stem
Vascular bundles arranged in concentric circles in dicot stem

Flower Parts

The number of flower parts is different in the two groups. They occur in multiples of three in monocots and in multiples of four or five in dicots.

Vascular bundles in monocot stem (Tradescantia)
Vascular bundles in monocot stem (Tradescantia)

Venation of leaves

Leaf veins are arranged either in parallels through the length of the leaf or in a reticulate arrangement throughout the leaf. In most species monocots leaves have parallel arrangement whereas dicots have reticulate arrangement.


There is also a different type of pollen structure present in the two classes. Monocots developed from plants with a single pore or furrow in the pollen, whereas dicots developed from plants with three furrows in their pollen structure.


Roots can develop either from a main radicle or arise in clusters from the nodes in the stem, called adventitious roots. Monocots are known to have adventitious roots whereas dicots have a radicle from which a root develops. A fibrous root system, with several moderately branching roots growing from the stem, is common in monocotyledons. In contrast, dicots have a taproot system, a tapering root that grows downward and has other roots sprouting laterally from it.

Fibrous roots are commonly found in monocotyledons while dicots have a tap root system.
Fibrous roots are commonly found in monocotyledons while dicots have a tap root system.

Secondary growth

Secondary growth is found in dicots but absent in monocots. Secondary growth helps in the production of wood and bark in trees.

Examples of Monocots and Dicots

There are about 65,000 species of monocots. Some examples include lilies, daffodils, grains, sugarcane, banana, palm, ginger, rice, coconut, corn and onions.

There are about 250,000 species of dicots. Examples include daisies, mint, pea, tamarind, and mango.


There are some exceptions to this classification. Some species belonging to monocots can have characters belonging to dicots, since the two groups have a shared ancestry.


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