Ament

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ament

[′ā‚ment]
(botany)
A catkin.
(medicine)
A person with congenital mental deficiency; an idiot.

Ament

 

(also catkin), in plants, a spicate, most often drooping inflorescence consisting of a large number of usually unisexual flowers that falls off after flowering (staminate aments) or after ripening of the fruits (pistillate aments). Not all aments are alike. For example, the pistillate aments of birch do not droop, and after fruit-bearing the axis of the ament remains on the plant. In alders, the ament does not fall off after fruit ripening. The inflorescences of willow, poplar, birch, alder, filbert, oak, chestnut, walnut, and many other plants are called aments. However, it is more correct to call the inflorescences of willow and poplar simple spikes, and the aments of birch a spike of dichasia.

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