Monocotyledon

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About 10; see text

Monocotyledons, also known as monocots, are one of two major groups of flowering plants (or angiosperms) that are traditionally recognized, the other being dicotyledons, or dicots. Monocot seedlings typically have one cotyledon (seed-leaf), in contrast to the two cotyledons typical of dicots. Monocots have been recognized at various taxonomic ranks, and under various names (see below). The APG II system recognises a clade called "monocots" but does not assign it to a taxonomic rank.

There are between 50,000 and 60,000 species within this group; according to IUCN there are 59,300 species.[1] The largest family in this group (and in the flowering plants as a whole) by number of species are the orchids (family Orchidaceae), with more than 20,000 species.[2] In agriculture the majority of the biomass produced comes from monocots.[3] The true grasses, family Poaceae (Gramineae), are the most economically important family in this group. These include all the true grains (rice, wheat, maize, etc.), the pasture grasses, sugar cane, and the bamboos. True grasses have evolved to become highly specialised for wind pollination. Grasses produce much smaller flowers, which are gathered in highly visible plumes (inflorescences). Other economically important monocot families are the palm family (Arecaceae), banana family (Musaceae), ginger family (Zingiberaceae) and the onion family Alliaceae, which includes such ubiquitously used vegetables as onions and garlic.

Many plants cultivated for their blooms are also from the monocot group, notably lilies, daffodils, irises, amaryllis, orchids, cannas, bluebells and tulips.

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