Humulus lupulus “Common Hop” Cannabaceae

Missoula, MT
September 12, 2015
Robert Niese

The Common Hop grows particularly well in the PNW and Washington state alone produces nearly a quarter of the world’s hops. Humulus is a member of a rather odd family of flowering plants, the Cannabaceae, which tend to have drab flowers (often unisexual) that lack petals and rely on wind for pollination. In the Common Hop specifically, the structure that is utilized for beer production (the hop) is actually a modified inflorescence of female flowers hiding beneath leaf-like scales called bracts. Beneath each of those bracts, the female flowers produce a the diversity of compounds which, through selective breeding efforts across the centuries, impart bitterness and complex aromas to the beer.

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One thought on “

  1. I’ve found out the hard way how well the Common Hop grows in the PNW. A neighbor gave me a couple specimens two years ago (he ran out of room for them in his garden) and the plants have taken an extreme liking to the picket fence in my yard. My favorite feature is the skeleton of twirly, twisting branches left-over in the wintertime- I like to leave them for birds to perch on as they go searching for food or nesting material in the neighborhood.

    Excellent site, here.

    Like

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