Different types of flowers (the Angiosperms) can easily be identified by dividing them into Monocots or Dicots. By just looking at one flower we should soon be able to identify it as one or the other. This not only makes it easier to pick out the different flower types, but it is very interesting to know exactly what we are looking at. Of course there are exceptions in which a flower doesn't seem to be one type or the other. Sometimes there are fusions of petals and leaves and other parts making it very confusing. If ever you find any types of flowers which just don't fit and you want to know their names, it's a good idea to either take a flower to your local Botanical Gardens, or send them a photo. They are really helpful with ID in different types of flowers. Of course the local nursery usually has the ID we want.
Portulacas (above) are often called Moss Roses or Purslane. They are Dicots because they have combinations of five petals depending on whether they are singles or doubles. They are a good example of just how difficult it can be to identify plants accurately. Unless you have access to the original baby seed leaves, things can get pretty tricky. Because the leaves look like Monocots (not branching), I would have assumed that this was a Monocot. But going by the petals it is a Dicot. If you can enlarge the above photo to its full extent, you can just see the branching on the leaves.
But there are also Portulacas which do have broader leaves, and this shows us quite definitely that they are Dicots. See them on the Portulacas page. Here you will see just why these hardy, drought tolerant little plants are so popular.
Besides the Angiosperms (flowering plants) and the Gymnosperms (cone bearing plants), in the Plant Kingdom there are the Bryophytes: Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts; and the Pteridophytes (ferns, horsetails and club mosses).
The last two groups still use spores to reproduce. Spores (brown) can be seen on the backs of fern fronds in Spring. This is a type of sexual reproduction.
And finally Legumes are often classed as another member of the Plant Kingdom all by themselves. Examples are beans, peas, and lentils.
So the Plant Kingdom can be classified into five main groups:
The Angiosperms are the flowering plants and there are around 250,000 to 400,000 different flower types. Fortunately they can be divided into two groups: Monocots and Dicots.
Monocots have one Cotyledon (the seed capsule where the seed develops) and dicots have two. The Cotyledon contains food for the growing Embryo/s. This means that when the seed develops and grows, it will send up either one (Monocot) or two (Dicot) leaves. I used to think that Dicots had two seeds. Wrong.
Monocots form one quarter of all the Angiosperms and Dicots the rest. Roses are Dicots. Click here to see the Wild Rose. There are several ways to distinguish between dicots and monocots. The leaves of monocots have parallel veins that begin at the base of the leaf and end at the tip without any branching (Lily family). The Dicots' veins start at the bottom and branch out in an ordered network all over the leaf (as in a rose). And of course, if you are there at the beginning when the seedlings push up through the soil, you can tell just by looking at them. The Monocot has one leaf and the Dicot has two, as in the following photos:
For even more detailed information, the Seed Site has it all. And if you want to see something truly amazing in the world of flowers you must not miss this page. Find out the secret of the Daisy Flower and the Gerberas.
Photo Credit: Jim Capaldi.
These beautiful Oriental Lilies are called 'After Eight'. If you click on the picture you can see that each flower has three large petals and three smaller tepals which protect the bud before it opens. It also gives you a good look at the leaves. You can just see that the veins are parallel. So it's definitely a Monocot.
Photo Credit: Luc Viatour.
Beautiful pink wild rose (Rosa canina). The Dog Rose. Five petals and branched leaf veins. A Dicot.
So when looking at all the different types of flowers, I hope you feel a bit more confident about which group they belong to. See also the Oriental Lily, a Monocot. And a favourite Dicot of mine (apart from roses) is the Nasturtium.
A flower with eight petals, the Lesser Celandine. A dicot. Look at this.
Photo Credit: User EHM02667.
The Day Flower (Commelina communis).
This beautiful flower (endangered in some regions) actually has three petals (if we could see it in detail and take it apart). They are fused, so they look like two petals. But it's still a Monocot. This is an example of how different types of flowers can be deceptive. Also its leaves have parallel veins.
“Oh, heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains.” Kahlil Gibran