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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We observed that many pistillate aments did not fall until the end of August, and instead grew into fruiting branches.
Similarly, at the level of each female flower, few ovaries or seeds in pistillate aments had fallen by the end of August [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED], and most ovaries grew into normal, mature size, irrespective of sound or empty seeds [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED].
Carpinus cordata achieved a higher percentage of mature seeds with relatively fewer staminate aments than did C.
For the Carpinus species we studied, male and female flower production were positively correlated, because male aments and total seed production were positively correlated [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 2 OMITTED] and few ovaries in pistillate aments fell by the beginning of seedfall season [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED].
The annual fluctuation of seed production of Quercus species is more affected by seed survival during the process from pollination to maturation than by the quantity of flowering staminate aments (Sork 1993).