Yeah that’s a pistil sticking out of it, hard to see from the angle. more cone-shaped than roundI agree with the others, but in the last pic, that ball at the base of the branch: Does it have a pistil sticking out of it? Is it actually more cone-shaped?
When a pistil is sticking out (white thread), that pretty much settles its femaleness. Female preflowers are also usually cone shaped, and are mostly smooth, without lines, flaps, scale structures, etc. Sometimes you get round ones, though.