What's the Difference Between
Monocot & Dicot Leaves?

net veins in leaf of wild grapeTraditionally 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.
  • parallel veins in a blade of fescue grassMonocots 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.