A cotyledon (/kɒtᵻˈliːdən/; "seed leaf" from Latin cotyledon, from Greek: κοτυληδών kotylēdōn, gen.: κοτυληδόνος kotylēdonos, from κοτύλη kotýlē "cup, bowl") is a significant part of the embryo within the seed of a plant, and is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "The primary leaf in the embryo of the higher plants (Phanerogams); the seed-leaf." Upon germination, the cotyledon may become the embryonic first leaves of a seedling. The number of cotyledons present is one characteristic used by botanists to classify the flowering plants (angiosperms). Species with one cotyledon are called monocotyledonous ("monocots"). Plants with two embryonic leaves are termed dicotyledonous ("dicots") and placed in the class Magnoliopsida.
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