3The root system is part of the plant that normally grows underground and provides anchorage for the plant, absorption of water and minerals, and storage for foodstuffs. Monocot plants such as lilies, orchids, palms, irises, and grasses are supplied with an extensive fibrous root system. Although a primary root initially emerges from a seedling, it remains just long enough to establish a foothold and is quickly replaced by the outgrowth of many slender roots. Spreading from the stem, the strong fibers are nearly equal in size and continue to form numerous smaller root branches. As do other root structures, this diffuse fibrous network helps to promote terrain stability and prevent topsoil from being warn away by erosion.Roots grow primarily in length and the mass of any root system often far exceeds the above ground portion of the plant. The end or tip of the root is protected by a cap of loose cells. As the root probes through the soil, the cap sloughs off to reveal new tissue. Tiny fine thread-like projections termed root hairs arise from surface of the root and also extend into the soil. These numerous filaments absorb nutrients from the earth and are capable of collecting enormous amounts of water
4A monocot flowerA monocot rootClass Monocotyledonae, the monocots, make up the minority of the angiosperms. There are 65,000 species of monocots, including the grasses and the grains. The common name of monocots is due to the presence of only one seed leaf - a cotyledon, a tiny leaf in the plant embryo. During germination, the cotyledon will use its enzymes to digest stored food, allowing initial plant growth.
5There are several other distinctive features of monocots There are several other distinctive features of monocots. In the leaves, veins are parallel to each other, and in the stems of the plant, vascular tissues form a complex arrangement of bundles. The flowers of monocots have their petals and other structures in patterns of multiples of three. Finally, the root system of a monocot is fibrous, with many branches that spread out right below the soil surface.The life cycles of monocots are similar to those of dicots, the other class of angiosperms, though there are some differences that occur between the germination of the seed and the growth of the plant. In monocots, the first organ to develop is the embryonic root, which is soon followed by the embryonic shoot, the beginning of the above-ground plant. To break through the soil for the first time, a protective sheath first develops around the embryonic shoot and pushes up through the soil. Then, the shoot can grow up into the air without first breaking in the hard, abrasive soil.
6Table courtesy of 21st Century Biology MonocotDicotExamplesChives, corn, palm, pineappleArabidopsis, peanuts, spinachPollen StructureSingle poredThree poredFlower PartsMultiples of threeMultiples of four or fiveLeaf VeinsParallel- ladder likeReticulated- net likeVascular ArrangementBundles scatteredArranged in a ring in the cortexSecondary GrowthAbsentPresentRoot DevelopmentAdventitious w/ taprootDevelops from the radicle w/ fibrous rootNumber of CotyledonsOneTwo