Embryo of the seed with two cotyledons (in a few genera one only, as in Cyclamen, Pinguicula and some species of Ranunculaceae and Capnoides), the first leaves of the germinating plantlet opposite. Stem exogenous, of pith, wood and bark (endogenous in structure in Nymphaeaceae), the wood in one or more layers surrounding the pith, traversed by medullary rays and covered by the bark. Leaves usually pinnately or palmately veined, the veinlets forming a network. Parts of the flower rarely in 3's or 6's.

Dicotyledonous plants are first definitely known in Cretaceous time. They constitute between two-thirds and three-fourths of the living angiospermous flora.

Series 1. Choripetalae.

Petals separate and distinct from each other, or wanting.

The series is also known as Archichlamideae, and comprises most of the families formerly grouped under Apetalae (without petals) and Polypetalae (with separate petals). Exceptions to the typical feature of separate petals are found in the Leguminosae, in which the two lower petals are more or less united; in the Fumariaceae, where the two inner petals or all four of them are sometimes coherent; the Polygalaceae, in which the three petals are united with each other, and with the stamens; Oxalis in Geraniaceae; and Ilicaceae, whose petals are sometimes joined at the base.