AskDefine | Define catkin

Dictionary Definition

catkin n : a cylindrical spikelike inflorescence [syn: ament]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. : A type of inflorescence, consisting of a slender axis with many unisexual apetalous flowers along its sides, as in the willow and poplar.

Coordinate terms


botany: a type of inflorescence
  • Breton: bisig
  • French: chaton, iule
  • German: Kätzchen
  • Italian: gattino, amento
  • Japanese: 尾状花序
  • Korean: 버들강아지 (beodeul-gangAji)
  • Spanish: amento

Extensive Definition

A catkin or ament is a slim, cylindrical flower cluster, with inconspicuous or no petals, usually wind-pollinated (anemophilous) but sometimes insect pollinated (as in Salix). They contain many, usually unisexual flowers, arranged closely along a central stem which is often drooping. They are found in many plant families, including Betulaceae, Fagaceae, Moraceae, and Salicaceae. For some time, they were believed to be a key synapomorphy among the proposed Hamamelididae, but it is now believed that this flower arrangement has arisen independently by convergent evolution on a number of occasions.
In many of these plants only the male flowers form catkins, and the female flowers are single (hazel, oak), a cone (alder) or other types (mulberry). In other plants (such as poplar) both male and female flowers are borne in catkins.
Catkin-bearing plants include many other trees or shrubs such as birch, willow, hickory, sweet chestnut and sweetfern (Comptonia), and also some herbaceous plants such as nettle.
catkin in Catalan: Ament (botànica)
catkin in Czech: Jehněda
catkin in German: Kätzchen
catkin in Spanish: Amento
catkin in Esperanto: Amento
catkin in French: Chaton
catkin in Icelandic: Rekill
catkin in Hebrew: עגיל (בוטניקה)
catkin in Lithuanian: Žirginys
catkin in Macedonian: Реса (ботаника)
catkin in Dutch: Katje
catkin in Dutch Low Saxon: Katjen
catkin in Polish: Kotka (botanika)
catkin in Portuguese: Amento
catkin in Slovenian: Mačica
catkin in Vietnamese: Hoa đuôi sóc
catkin in Turkish: Kedicik
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