Flowering plants are classified as either monocots or dicots. The easiest way to distinguish a monocot is by counting the the number of petals. Monocots grow petals--along with leaves and sepals--in multiples of three, while dicots leaves and petals grow in multiples of two or five. Monocots also display smooth leaves with parallel veins. They encompass many of the world's most beloved flowers and are widely available to gardeners.
Tulips are classified as monocots, though it can be hard to tell from the bulbous, cup-like petal structure. However, their petals will be divisible by three and they send out only one leaf from their bulbs. First grown in the Ottoman Empire, tulips are now cultivated throughout the world, with roughly 109 species and countless hybrids and cultivars. When planted in a mass, the showy spring flowers produce breathtaking beds of color. They grow throughout the continental US and are among the country's most popular flowers.
Daylilies are characterized by long, smooth blades that surround a flower with three petals and three sepals. Native to Europe and Asia, the perennials feature striking flowers that are the centerpieces of gardens and floral displays. With more than 60,000 registered cultivars, daylilies come in a rainbow of colors, from a purple-black to white. Hardy throughout the continental US, daylilies are among the most adaptable landscape plants.
With more than 25,000 different species, orchids and members of the orchid family constitute about one-third of all monocots on the planet. Orchids feature simple leaves with parallel veins, which are characteristic to most monocots. Their petals generally grow in two layers or whorls, which have three petals and three sepals. Mostly found in the tropics in Central and South America, orchids have adapted to an astonishing array of different habitats, from glaciers to deserts.
Lilies are a monocot, growing in a six-petal arrangement. Grown throughout the world, lilies bloom in late spring or early summer in an array of colors. The showy flowers, grown from bulbs, are adapted to woodland habitats and native to countries in the temperate northern hemisphere . There are more than 100 species and many more hybrids and cultivars. In the US, lilies have long been one the most popular garden flowers.
- Photo Credit tulip image by Igor Pashin from Fotolia.com
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