Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Catkin, a term originally applied to the elongated pendulous male inflorescence of sessile flowers, individually inconspicuous, in the hazel, which, after the discharge of its pollen, falls off entire. The arrangement of the sessile flowers is such that in some cases the inflorescence is simple, in others compound. Typically each catkin-scale or bract has a flower in its axil with two bracteoles, these bracteoles having also flowers in their axils with secondary bracteoles; but the type is departed from by the absence either of the central or the lateral flowers, or of some of the bracteoles. The term has been extended to inflorescences, like those of the Spanish chestnut, which include some bisexual flowers; to those in the willows, which are erect instead of pendulous, female as well as male, and which, when the former, are not deciduous; or to those of the birch, which fall to pieces instead of coming off entire. The Latin term for a catkin, amentum, gives the name Amentaceae to a group of trees bearing catkins.