Monocots vs Dicots Explained

Do you remember learning the difference between monocots and dicots in school? Do you even remember why that’s important? First, understand that monocots and dicots actually represent the two main branches of flowering plants. That means that almost all flowering plants can be divided into one of these two groups. Of course, the key word is almost. There are some that don’t fit into either group all that well. Start by watching our video short on the differences between the two groups.

The five main characters I like to use are Leaves, Roots, Stems, Cotyledons, and Flowers.


Monocots tend to have flower parts in multiples of 3.

Dicots tend to have flower parts in multiples of 4 or 5.


Monocots tend to have parallel veination.

Dicots tend to have net veination.


Monocots usually have adventitious roots.

Dicots usually have tap roots.


The vascular bundles of monocots are usually spread throughout the cross-section of the stem.

Those in dicots are usually spread to the outside.


In theory, this is the best way to tell the difference between monocots and dicots. Monocotyledons, have one cotyledon and dicotyledons have two. However, unless you’re a botanist, it’s going to be somewhat difficult to look at a seed to determine the number of these.

More Great Resources to Read about Monocots vs Dicots

Monocots vs Dicots: A quick overview from Berkley.

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Written by Rob Nelson

Rob is an ecologist from the University of Hawaii. He is the co-creator and director of Untamed Science. His goal is to create videos and content that are entertaining, accurate, and educational. When he's not making science content, he races whitewater kayaks and works on Stone Age Man.

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