Dicotyledons

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DICOTYLEDONS. The second sub-class of the angiosperms, the dicotyledons, receive their name from the two opposite seed leaves or cotyledons with which the young plant is furnished. These leaves are usually quite different in shape from the other leaves, and not infrequently are very thick and fleshy, filling nearly the whole seed, as may be seen in a bean or pea. The number of the dicotyledons is very large, and very much the greater number of living spermaphytes belong to this group. They exhibit much greater variety in the structure of the flowers than the monocotyledons,and the leaves, which in the latter are with few exceptions quite uniform in structure,show here almost infinite variety. Thus the leaves may be simple (undivided); eg oak, apple; or compound, as in clover, locust, rose, columbine, etc. The leaves may be stalked or sessile (attached directly to the stem), or even grown around the stem, as in some honeysuckles. The edges of the leaves may be perfectly smooth ("entire"), or they may be variously lobed, notched, or wavy in many ways. As many of the dicotyledons are trees or shrubs that lose their leaves annually, special leaves are developed for the protection of the young leaves during the winter. These have the form of thick scales, and often are provided with glands secreting a gummy substance which helps render them water-proof. These scales are best studied in trees with large, winter buds, such as the horsechestnut (Fig. 92), hickory, lilac, etc ...

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