Dicotyledon Plants: Examples & Definition

Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Botanists classify all plants as monocots or dicots with regard to their structure. In this lesson, we will learn about plants that are considered to be dicots, also called dicotyledon plants.

Definition of Dicotyledon Plants

Plants are considered by botanists to be monocotyledons or dicotyledons. Most people simplify these words and refer to them as either monocots or dicots. The word cotyledon refers to the seed leaf, which is the first leaf of a plant to develop and is an important part of the seed and embryo. Dicotyledons are plants that have two initial cotyledons.

This picture shows the single cotyledon of a monocot on the left and the two cotyledons of a dicot on the right.
An image of cotyledons.

In addition to two seed leafs, there are other characteristics of dicots. Dicotyledon plants have flower parts in groups of four or five. This means they will have four or five petal and sepals. The vascular bundles that carry water and nutrients through the stems of dicotyledons are arranged in concentric circles rather than being randomly scattered. They also have roots that grow from the radicle of the developing seed, whereas monocot roots are adventitious and can grow from stems and other parts of the plant.

This diagram shows the radicle of a seed. Dicotyledon roots grow from the radicle.
A diagram of a seed.

Examples of Dicotyledon Plants

One classic example of a dicotyledon plant is the magnolia tree. These trees grow in many places in the southern United States. In fact, it is the state tree of Mississippi. They are classified as dicotyledons because they germinate form beneath the soil with two cotyledons. Their vascular bundles are arranged in circles, and their flowers have petals and sepals in groups of four.

Mighty magnolia trees are examples of dicotyledon plants.
Picture of a magnolia tree.

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