all members of the class of
flowering plants have been regarded as belonging to one of two subclasses: They were either monocots or dicots.
In our flower section we have a special page showing
differences between monocot and dicot flowers, plus we have another
page indicating that nowadays all flowering plants aren't necessarily considered
either monocots or dicots.
Still, for our backyard purposes, thinking in terms of
monocots and dicots can be very useful. For example, look at the big differences
distinguishing the leaves of most monocots and dicots:
- Dicots include nearly all our trees, bushes,
vegetable-garden plants (not corn), and most of our wildflowers (not irises and lilies).
Dicot leaves are usually net-veined, as in the
close-up of the veins in a wild grape leaf at the right. Notice how the larger veins are
thicker and straighter, but as veins get smaller and smaller, they tend to snake around.
- Monocots include all grasses and
glasslike plants, plus lilies, irises, amaryllises, and some other plant types. Usually,
but not always, monocots possess parallel-veined leaves, as typified in the simple blade of fescue grass shown at
the right. One example of a monocot which does not have parallel-veined leaves is the
Trillium, several species of which are common in moist American forests.