Monocot Plants: Family, Order, and Representative
Genera and Agricultural Crops

Hereunder is a partial list of monocot families and other information relevant to plant classification. It has already been discussed that classification of plants into various groupings is important in agriculture. For example, having leaves with penni-parallel venation is a useful guide in identifying crops under the order Zingiberales (gingers and bananas).

Agricultural crops belonging to the same family also possess common characteristics knowledge of which may become useful in their culture. They may have similar adaptation or be a host to the same pest or pathogen. In conventional plant breeding, hybridization within the same family through interspecific and intergeneric crosses have yielded successful results.

This list was made largely from Simpson (2010). Supplementary information from other references are attached such as alternative common names of families and representative crops.

Table M-1. List of selected monocot families, their respective order, and representative genera of family.

Family Names of
Monocot Plants*
Order Representative Genera / Crops
1. Agavaceaea
(Agave family)
Asparagales Agave: A. cantala (Maguey, fiber crop); Yucca
2. Alliaceaea
(Onion family)
Asparagales 13 genera e.g. Allium: A. cepa (Onion, spice crop); Ipheion, Leucocoryne, Tulbaghia
3. Amaryllidaceaea (Amaryllis family) Asparagales 59 genera e.g. Amaryllis: A. belladona (Belladona lily, ornamental crop); Crinum, Galanthus, Hippeastrum, Leucojum, Lycoris, Narcissus
4. Araceae
(Arum or Gabi family)
Alismatales 104 genera e.g. Colocasia: C. esculenta (Taro or Gabi), Alocasia, Xanthosoma (food crops, root and tuber crops); Aglaonema, Anthurium, Caladium, Dieffenbachia, Monstera, Philodendron, Spathiphylum, Syngonium, Zantedeschia (ornamental crops); Lemna, Pistia (aquatic plants); Wolffia (smallest flower, aquatic), Amorphophallus titanum (among the biggest inflorescences)
5. Arecaceae or
(Palm family)
Arecales Areca: A. catechu (Betel nut); Arenga, Cocos, Elaeis, Metroxylon, Phoenix, Washingtonia, Lodoicea maldivica (biggest seed), Rhapia spp. (largest leaves), Calamus (rattan)
6. Asparagaceaeb Asparagales Asparagus: A. officinalis (Vegetable Asparagus)
7. Asphodelaceaec (Asphodel or Aloe family) Asparagales 15 genera e.g. Aloe: A. vera (Aloe or sabila); Asphodelus, Bulbine, Gasteria, Haworthia, Kniphofia
8. Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad or Pineapple family) Poales Ananas: A. comosus (Pineapple, fruit and fiber crop); Aechmea, Neoregalia, Puya, Tillandsia
9. Cannaceae
(Canna-Lily family)
Zingiberales** 1 genus i.e, Canna: Canna spp. (Spanish flag, Bandera española, ornamental crop)
10. Colchicaceae Liliales Colchicum: C. autumnale (Autumn Crocus); Burchardia
11. Commelinaceae (Spiderwort family) Commelinales Commelina: C. diffusa (Climbing dayflower); Rhoeo, Cyanotis, Tradescantia, Zebrina
12. Costaceae Zingiberales** Costus: C. speciosus (Common spiral ginger)
13. Cyclanthaceae Pandanales Carludovica palmata (source of fiber used in making Panama hats)
14. Cyperaceae
(Sedge family)
Poales 104 genera e.g. Cyperus: C. alternifolius (Umbrella plant, ornamental crop); Carex, Eleocharis, Scirpus
15. Dioscoreaceae
(Yam or Ubi family)
Dioscoreales 4 genera e.g. Dioscorea: D. alata (Yam, tuber crop); Stenomeris, Tacca, Trichopus
16. Eriocaulaceae (Pipewort family) Poales 10 genera e.g. Eriocaulon: E. decangulare (Ten-angled pipewort); Leiothrix, Paepalanthus, Syngonanthus (used as floral “everlasting”)
17. Heliconiaceae Zingiberales** Heliconia: H. humilis (Common lobster claw, ornamental crop)
18. Iridaceae
(Iris family)
Asparagales 70 genera e.g. Iris: I. reticulata (Reticulated Iris, ornamental crop); Crocus, Dietes, Freesia, Gladiolus
19. Juncaceae
(Rush family)
Poales 7 genera e.g. Juncus: J. effusus (Soft rush); Distichia
20. Liliaceae
(Lily family)
Liliales 16 generae.g. Lilium: L. longiflorum (White Trumpet Lily, ornamental crop); Tulipa, Calochortus, Erythronium, Fritillaria, Medeola
21. Marantaceae
(Arrow Root family)
Zingiberales** Maranta: M. arundinacea (Arrow root, root crop); Calathea, Thalia
22. Musaceae
(Banana family)
Zingiberales** 3 genera e.g. Musa: Musa spp. (Banana, fruit crop; Abaca, fiber crop); Ensete, Musella
23. Orchidaceae
(Orchid family)
Asparagales 700-800 genera e.g. Cattleya, Cymbidium, Dendrobium, Phalaenopsis, Vanda: V. sanderiana (waling-waling orchid, ornamental crop), Vanilla
24. Pandanaceae (Screw-Pine or Pandan family) Pandanales 3 genera e.g. Pandanus: P. tectorius (Screw Pine, fiber crop); Freycinetia
25. Poaceae or Gramineae (Grass family) Poales 668 genera e.g. Avena, Hordeum, Sorghum, Oryza, Triticum, Zea (cereal crops); Bambusa, Dendrocalamus (bamboos); Saccharum: S. officinarum (sugarcane, sugar crop); Cymbopogon (lemon grass, spice, essential-oil crop); Brachiaria, Cynodon, Panicum, Pennisetum (forage crops); Axonopus, Paspalum, Zoysia (turfgrasses)
26. Pontederiaceae (Pickerel-Weed or Pondweed or Water Hyacinth family) Commelinales Pontederia: P. cordata (Pickerel weed); Eichhornia, Heteranthera, Monochoria
27. Smilacaceae (Green briar family) Liliales Smilax: S. bracteata (Sarsaparilla)
28. Strelitziaceae (Bird-of-paradise family) Zingiberales** 3 genera e.g. Strelitzia: S. reginae (Bird of Paradise, ornamental crop); Phenakospermum, Ravanela
29. Typhaceaed (Cattail family) Poales 1 genus: Typha: T. angustifolia (Cattail, aquatic ornamental crop and food crop)
30.Xanthorrhoeaceaec Asparagales Xanthorrhoea: X. australis (Grass-tree, ornamental crop)
31. Xyridaceae (Yellow-eyed-grass or Xyris family) Poales 5 genera e.g. Xyris: X. pauciflora (grass-like weed), Abolboda, Achlyphila, Aratitiyopea, Orectanthe
32. Zingiberaceae (Ginger family) Zingiberales** Zingiber: Z. officinalis (Ginger, spice crop), Alpinia, Curcuma, Elettaria, Hedychium
*The following families of monocot plants have been expanded by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG III[2009]) to include the families as specified (Simpson 2010):

aAmaryllidaceae (order Asparagales): Agapanthaceae (order Liliales, ex. Agapanthus) and Alliaceae or Onion family (order Asparagales).

bAsparagaceae (order Asparagales): Agavaceae, Aphyllanthaceae, Hyacinthaceae, Laxmanniaceae, Ruscaceae, Themidaceae or Brodiaea family.

cXanthorrhoeaceae (order Asparagales): Asphodelaceae, Hemerocallidaceae.

dTyphaceae (order Poales): Sparganiaceae.

**Order Zingiberales (gingers and bananas) comprises of the following monocot families: “gingers” – Marantaceae, Cannaceae, Zingiberaceae, Costaceae; and “bananas” – Heliconiaceae, Lowiaceae, Strelitziaceae, Musaceae (Simpson 2010).


CULLINA W. 2008. Native Ferns, Moss & Grasses. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. 256.

MERRILL ED. 1912. A Flora of Manila. Manila: Bureau of Printing. 491 p.

SIMPSON MG. 2010. Plant Systematics. 2nd ed. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Inc. 740 p.

STEINER ML. 1986. Philippine Ornamental Plants and Their Care. 3rd ed. Las Pinas, Metro Manila: M&L Licudine Enterprises. 233 p.

THE ESSENTIAL GARDENING ENCYCLOPEDIA. 2003. San Francisco, CA: Fog City Press. 608 p.

(Ben G. Bareja Oct. 2012)

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