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Major Groups of Angiosperms

In an earlier topic, we discussed the diversity of plants. The most complex of them are the angiosperms and by taking a closer look at them, we will be able to understand plant form and function better.

plant biology 1
Flower poster by Alvesgaspar is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Monocots vs. Eudicots/Dicots

On the basis of several structural features, botanists classify angiosperms into two major clades (related by evolution): monocots and eudicots, which refer to the first leaves on the plant embryo–the seed leaves or cotyledons; with monocots having one seed leaf and a eudicot having two.

Monocots include orchids, bamboos, palms, and grasses while most flowering plants are eudicots. The following table summarizes the characteristics of the two major groups:

Seed LeavesOne cotyledonTwo cotyledons
Leaf VeinsVeins usually parallelVeins usually branched
StemsVascular tissue scattered in a complex arrangementVascular tissue arranged in rings
FlowersFloral parts are usually in multiples of threeFloral parts usually in multiples of four or five
RootsFibrous root systemTaproot usually present

For a more visual representation of the table, see the following image:

plant biology 2
Monocot vs. Dicot‘: This diagram is showing the differences between monocotyledonous flowers and dicotyledonous flowers. Image by Flowerpower207 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

As we saw previously with animals, a close look at structure often reveals its function. Up next, we will look at the basic organs of a typical plant.


Next topic: Plant Organs

Return to the main article: Plant Form and Functions


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