Flowering plants (Angiospermae alt Magnoliophyta) are known to have existed more than 140 million years ago. Earlier than 110 million years ago, perhaps as early as 131 million years ago, a divergent branch became the Monocots. Exactly where, how and why are questions yet unanswered. Their simplified form compared to the magnolids and eudicots suggest they were originally aquatic plants. These plants sprout with just one embryonic leaf (cotyledon) instead of two, and their leaves tend to be long and narrow with parallel veins instead of a single major vein with auxiliary veins branching from it. They have no easy way to thicken their stems and roots may sprout from almost anywhere on stems, traits common to aquatic plants.
Formerly these plants were all catagorized as "Lilies" (class
Liliopsida), but the genetically based AGP III system has been
unkind to lilies. They are now within the Clade Monocots, demoted to a
minor order on the same level as asparagus (formerly a member of the lily
order) and most of their former members now belong to asparagus or other
Only lineages used for food are listed here, though our list is not complete (we're working on that). There are many monocots that provide nothing edible and they are not mentioned here.
Our classifications follow the APG II/III system (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group). Applying molecular analysis, the AGP system has caused a major upheaval in plant taxonomy.Clade monocots