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Elongated cluster of single-sex flowers bearing scaly bracts and usually lacking petals. Many trees bear catkins, including willows, birches, and oaks. Wind carries pollen from male to female catkins or from male catkins to female flowers that take a different form (e.g., in spikes).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on catkin, visit Britannica.com.