Dicot Root vs. Monocot Root: What’s the Difference?

Dicots and monocots are two different kinds of flowering plants that the arrangement of their roots can distinguish. While they share some similarities, dicots and monocots possess many differences, including how their roots grow, how their flowers look, and even how they can be divided into categories. Here’s how to tell the difference between dicot and monocot root plants. Read on to learn more about these common flowering plants and their relationship.

What is Dicot Root?

Dicot roots are the type of root system that includes those of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). These roots have two cotyledons and produce lateral roots. Dicot roots have two cotyledons (seed leaves), commonly known as Cruciferae. These are the largest flowering plants and include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collard greens, mustard, turnip, radish, etc. They also develop secondary roots to increase the plant’s water and nutrient intake. The lateral or adventitious roots grow downward at a right angle from the main stem and serve as storage organs for carbohydrates. They help store food in times of drought so it can be used by the plant later on when there is less water available.

What is Monocot Root?

Monocot roots are the type that produces only one cotyledon. The monocots do not have any lateral roots. Monocot roots only have one seed leaf and are commonly known as Poaceae. These most miniature flowering plants include grasses, bamboo, corn, wheat, oats, rye, barley, sorghum, sugar cane, millet, etc. Their roots look like an onion with a bulb at the bottom. The layers consist of a thin layer of cells one to two inches thick and mostly water-holding cells, allowing them to survive in dry climates. They also have many small branches that come off their roots, making it easier for these plants to absorb nutrients from moist soil.

Common Examples

Dandelions, sunflowers, and grapes are all examples of plants with dicot roots. On the other hand, grasses, palms, and orchids are examples of plants with monocot roots. The main difference between these two types of plants is their number of cotyledons or seed leaves. Dicots always have two cotyledons, while monocots only have one. They also differ in their vascular systems. Dicots usually have single xylem for water transport, while monocots have three to six xylem vessels for water transport. Furthermore, because of their single vascular system, monocots can be categorized as herbaceous or non-woody plants because they do not need a robust support system to survive from year to year.

Key Differences Between Dicot Root vs. Monocot Root

Dicots have two types of roots: taproot and fibrous root. Taproots are thick, fleshy roots that provide stability and anchorage. Fibrous roots are thinner, less fleshy roots that help distribute water and nutrients throughout the soil.

  1. Monocots have only one type of root: fibrous root. These roots are thin, not fleshy, and do not anchor the plant well.
  2. Dicots are often larger than monocots.
  3. Dicots have thicker stems than monocots.
  4. Dicots have fewer leaves than monocots. Monocots have many small leaves around their stem.
  5. Dicots have smaller flowers than monocots. Flowers are located at the top of the plant.
  6. Dicots have a longer flowering time than monocots. Flowering time refers to how long after germination until the first flower appears.
  7. Dicots produce fruits with seeds inside. Monocots produce fruits without seeds.
  8. Dicots have more seeds per fruit than monocots. Seeds are the reproductive organs of plants.
  9. Dicots have broader petals than monocots. Petals are the outermost parts of a flower.
  10. Dicots have narrower sepals than monocots (sepals are the innermost flower parts). Sepals surround the petals and stamens.
  11. Dicots have shorter stamens than monocots. Stamens are the male reproductive organ of a flower.
  12. Dicots have a higher number of pistils than monocots. Pistils are female reproductive organs.
  13. Dicots have lower pollen production than monocots. Pollen is the male reproductive organ of plants.


Regarding plants, there are two main roots: dicot and monocot. Dicot roots are typically broader and shorter, while monocot roots are thinner and longer. The main difference between these two types of roots is their structure. Dicots have a more complex root system with many branching roots, while monocots have a more straightforward root system with fewer branches. Each type of root has its advantages and disadvantages, but both are necessary for the plant to thrive.