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 the 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 adaptations or be a host to the same pest or pathogen.

In conventional plant breeding, hybridization within the same family through interspecific and intergeneric crosses has yielded successful results.

This list was made largely by Simpson (2010).

Supplementary information from other references is attached such as alternative common names of families and representative crops.

List of Selected Monocot Families

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

Family Names of
Monocot Plants*
OrderRepresentative Genera / Crops
1. Agavaceaea
(Agave family)
AsparagalesAgaveA. cantala (Maguey, fiber crop); Yucca
2. Alliaceaea
(Onion family)
Asparagales13 genera e.g. AlliumA. cepa (Onion, spice crop); IpheionLeucocoryneTulbaghia
3. Amaryllidaceaea (Amaryllis family)Asparagales59 genera e.g. AmaryllisA. belladona (Belladona lily, ornamental crop); CrinumGalanthusHippeastrumLeucojumLycorisNarcissus
4. Araceae
(Arum or Gabi family)
Alismatales104 genera e.g. ColocasiaC. esculenta (Taro or Gabi), AlocasiaXanthosoma (food crops, root and tuber crops); AglaonemaAnthuriumCaladiumDieffenbachiaMonsteraPhilodendronSpathiphylumSyngoniumZantedeschia (ornamental crops); LemnaPistia (aquatic plants); Wolffia (smallest flower, aquatic), Amorphophallus titanum (among the biggest inflorescences)
5. Arecaceae or
 (Palm family)
ArecalesArecaA. catechu (Betel nut); ArengaCocosElaeisMetroxylon, Phoenix, WashingtoniaLodoicea maldivica (biggest seed), Rhapia spp. (largest leaves), Calamus (rattan)
6. AsparagaceaebAsparagalesAsparagusA. officinalis (Vegetable Asparagus)
7. Asphodelaceaec (Asphodel or Aloe family)Asparagales15 genera e.g. AloeA. vera (Aloe or sabila); AsphodelusBulbineGasteriaHaworthiaKniphofia
8. Bromeliaceae (Bromeliad or Pineapple family)PoalesAnanasA. comosus (Pineapple, fruit and fiber crop); AechmeaNeoregaliaPuyaTillandsia
9. Cannaceae
(Canna-Lily family)
Zingiberales**1 genus i.e, CannaCanna spp. (Spanish flag, Bandera española, ornamental crop)
10. ColchicaceaeLilialesColchicumC. autumnale (Autumn Crocus); Burchardia
11. Commelinaceae (Spiderwort family)CommelinalesCommelinaC. diffusa (Climbing dayflower); RhoeoCyanotisTradescantiaZebrina
12. CostaceaeZingiberales**CostusC. speciosus (Common spiral ginger)
13. CyclanthaceaePandanalesCarludovica palmata (source of fiber used in making Panama hats)
14. Cyperaceae
(Sedge family)
Poales104 genera e.g. CyperusC. alternifolius (Umbrella plant, ornamental crop); CarexEleocharisScirpus
15. Dioscoreaceae
(Yam or Ubi family)
Dioscoreales4 genera e.g. DioscoreaD. alata (Yam, tuber crop); StenomerisTaccaTrichopus
16. Eriocaulaceae (Pipewort family)Poales10 genera e.g. EriocaulonE. decangulare (Ten-angled pipewort); LeiothrixPaepalanthusSyngonanthus (used as floral “everlasting”)
17. HeliconiaceaeZingiberales**HeliconiaH. humilis (Common lobster claw, ornamental crop)
18. Iridaceae
(Iris family)
Asparagales70 genera e.g. IrisI. reticulata (Reticulated Iris, ornamental crop); CrocusDietesFreesiaGladiolus
19. Juncaceae
(Rush family)
Poales7 genera e.g. JuncusJ. effusus (Soft rush); Distichia
20. Liliaceae
(Lily family)
Liliales16 generae.g. LiliumL. longiflorum (White Trumpet Lily, ornamental crop); TulipaCalochortusErythroniumFritillariaMedeola
21. Marantaceae
(Arrow Root family)
Zingiberales**MarantaM. arundinacea (Arrow root, root crop); CalatheaThalia
22. Musaceae
(Banana family)
Zingiberales**3 genera e.g. MusaMusa spp. (Banana, fruit crop; Abaca, fiber crop); EnseteMusella
23. Orchidaceae
(Orchid family)
Asparagales700-800 genera e.g. CattleyaCymbidiumDendrobiumPhalaenopsisVandaV. sanderiana (waling-waling orchid, ornamental crop), Vanilla
24. Pandanaceae (Screw-Pine or Pandan family)Pandanales3 genera e.g. PandanusP. tectorius (Screw Pine, fiber crop); Freycinetia
25. Poaceae or Gramineae (Grass family)Poales668 genera e.g. AvenaHordeumSorghumOryzaTriticumZea (cereal crops); BambusaDendrocalamus (bamboos); SaccharumS. officinarum (sugarcane, sugar crop); Cymbopogon (lemon grass, spice, essential-oil crop); BrachiariaCynodonPanicumPennisetum (forage crops); AxonopusPaspalumZoysia (turfgrasses)
26. Pontederiaceae (Pickerel-Weed or Pondweed or Water Hyacinth family)CommelinalesPontederiaP. cordata (Pickerel weed); EichhorniaHeterantheraMonochoria
27. Smilacaceae (Green briar family)LilialesSmilaxS. bracteata (Sarsaparilla)
28. Strelitziaceae (Bird-of-paradise family)Zingiberales**3 genera e.g. StrelitziaS. reginae (Bird of Paradise, ornamental crop); PhenakospermumRavanela
29. Typhaceaed (Cattail family)Poales1 genus: TyphaT. angustifolia (Cattail, aquatic ornamental crop and food crop)
30.XanthorrhoeaceaecAsparagalesXanthorrhoeaX. australis (Grass-tree, ornamental crop)
31. Xyridaceae (Yellow-eyed-grass or Xyris family)Poales5 genera e.g. XyrisX. pauciflora (grass-like weed), AbolbodaAchlyphilaAratitiyopeaOrectanthe
32. Zingiberaceae (Ginger family)Zingiberales**ZingiberZ. officinalis (Ginger, spice crop), AlpiniaCurcumaElettariaHedychium

*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.

Photo of author

Ben Bareja

Ben Bareja, the owner-founder-webmaster of This website was conceptualized primarily to serve as an e-library for reference purposes on the principles and practices in crop science, including basic botany. Read more here

Leave a Comment