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A catkin.
A person with congenital mental deficiency; an idiot.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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At the same time, we sampled other branches and collected 20 pistillate aments (fruiting branches) for each species, counting the number of ovaries in florets and bracts per pistillate ament.
The number of staminate aments, mature seed production (sum of sound seeds, seeds suffering predation by insects, and broken seeds), and total seed production (sum of sound seeds, seeds suffering predation by insects, broken, empty, and immature seeds) all showed year-to-year variation, with strong synchronization among the four species (Table 1).
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).