Monocotyledon Plants: Examples, Definition & Pictures

Lesson Transcript
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.

One way that botanists classify plants is by examining their structures. In this lesson, we are going to learn about a group of plants known as monocotyledons to gain an understanding of their characteristics.

Definition of Monocotyledon Plants

Cotyledons are a significant part of the embryo found in a seed. They are the first parts of a seedling to emerge from the soil when it germinates. Monocotyledons are plants that have only one cotyledon. They also have other characteristics, such as flower parts in multiples of threes. This means they could have three, six or nine petals, or they could have sepals that make up their flowers. They also have adventitious roots. These are roots that can grow from almost any part of the plant that comes into contact with the soil, such as the stem. Also, if you look closely at the leaves of a monocotyledon plant, you will see that the veins of the leaves are parallel.

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  • 0:01 Monocotyledon Plants
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This image shows a monocotyledon plant on the left with one cotyledon and a dicotyledon plant on the right with two cotyledons.
An image of cotyledons.

Examples of Monocotyledon Plants

Do you like to eat onions? The part of the onion plant that we actually eat is a group of compressed leaves. If you look closely at them, you will see that the veins of the leaves all run parallel, demonstrating that the onion is a monocotyledon plant.

You can see that the veins in this onion are parallel. This makes it a monocotyledon.
A picture of an onion.

Garlic is also a monocotyledon. As the plant begins to grow, one cotyledon emerges from the soil. It also has the trademark parallel veins in the leaves.

Garlic plants, like these, are monocotyledons.
A picture of garlic plants.

Lilies are very popular flowers. If you look closely at a lily flower, you will notice they have six sepals, six petals and six stamens. This number is significant because it is a multiple of three. All monocotyledons have flower parts in multiples of three.

If you look closely at this lily, you can see six petals and six stamens.
 A picture of a lily flower.

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