What Is The Difference Between Monocot & Dicot Plants? And Why Do We Need To Know? This Post Is About Monocotyledon & Dicotyledon Plants & Why It’s Important.
I recently read an online post where the question was whether a picture of plants, where the label had been lost, were sweetcorn or aubergine. The person asking the question was a new gardener and I’m pleased they had the confidence to ask the question. We all started gardening with no knowledge and have to learn.
The answer was aubergine. It was obvious if you’d ever grown aubergine, but of course the newbie hadn’t. It was also obviously not sweetcorn, which any sweetcorn grower would know. But the newbie hadn’t grown sweetcorn before. These things are only obvious if we know the answer!
There is another way to know the answer to this question. One of these plants is a monocot and the other a dicot.
What Are Monocots & Dicots?
What is a Monocot?
Monocot is short of monocotyledon and dicot is short for dicotyledon. The words refer to the type of plant and specifically to the number of seed leaves that grow from the seed.
Monocots have just one seed leaf. They are grass or grass like plants. There are around 60,000 of them and they include maize and sweetcorn. Other monocots include cereals such as wheat, oats, rice, rye and barley.
The monocot in the photo are leeks. They have just germinated and look looped. This is because the leaf is still appearing. In a few days it will be a single upright leaf.
What is a Dicot?
Dicot is short for dicotyledon.. They have two seed leaves growing from the seed. Examples include carrots, beetroot, lettuce, tomatoes, aubergine etc. plus all the legumes such as peas, beans, lentils and peanuts.
What is a Cotyledon?
A cotyledon is a seed leaf. The leaf that comes out of the seed when it germinates.
The leaves that grow above, or after, the cotyledon are called true leaves.
So knowing that maize/sweetcorn is a monocot it’s easy to look at a young aubergine and realise that it has two cotyledons not one. So it can’t be an aubergine.
And if we look at the aubergine it has two cotyledons so can’t be sweetcorn/maize.
More Differences Between Monocot & Dicot Plants
It’s not just the number of leaves that are different between monocots and dicots .. though that is the first thing we see.
The leaf veins are different – monocots have parallel veins running the length of the leaf. Whereas dicots display reticulated venation i.e. their veins are branched.
The roots are also different. Monocot roots tend to be fibrous and mainly grow near the soil surface. Dicots have long tap roots and go deep in to the soil.
Here’s a brief video that shows the differences between dicots and monocots.
Tag: Difference Between Monocot & Dicot Plants?
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