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Common Hop plant (Humulus lupulus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Cannabaceae
Genus: Humulus

See text.

  • Lupulus Mill.
  • Waldensia Lavy

Humulus, hop, is a small genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. The hop is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Hops are the female flowers (seed cones, strobiles) of the hop species H. lupulus; as a main flavor and aroma ingredient in many beer styles, H. lupulus is widely cultivated for use by the brewing industry.


Although frequently referred to in American literature as the hops "vine", it is technically a bine; unlike vines, which use tendrils, suckers, and other appendages for attaching themselves, bines have stout stems with stiff hairs to aid in climbing. In British literature the term "vine" is generally reserved for the grape genus Vitis. Humulus is described as a twining perennial herbaceous plant which sends up new shoots in early spring and dies back to the cold-hardy rhizome in autumn. Hop shoots grow very rapidly, and at the peak of growth can grow 20 to 50 centimetres (8 to 20 inches) per week. Hop bines climb by wrapping clockwise (except for Humulus japonicus) around anything within reach, and individual bines typically grow between 2 and 15 metres (7 and 50 feet) depending on what is available to grow on. The leaves are opposite, with a 7 to 12 cm (2+34 to 4+34 in) leafstalk and a heart-shaped, fan-lobed blade 12 to 25 cm (4+34 to 9+34 in) long and broad; the edges are coarsely toothed. When the hop bines run out of material to climb, horizontal shoots sprout between the leaves of the main stem to form a network of stems wound round each other.[2]

Male and female flowers of the hop plant are dioecious, developing on separate plants. Female plants, which produce the hop flowers used in brewing beer, are often propagated vegetatively and grown in the absence of male plants. This prevents pollination and the development of viable seeds, which are sometimes considered undesirable for brewing beer owing to the potential for off-flavors arising from the introduction of fatty acids from the seeds.[3]

The characteristic bitterness imparted by the addition of hops to the brewing process is mainly due to the presence of the bitter acids, which are prenylated acylphloroglucinol derivatives.[4] Bitter acids are divided into the alpha-acids, with humulone the major compound, and the beta-acids, with lupulone the major compound;[5] the alpha-acids isomerize during the brewing process to form iso-alpha acids, which themselves have a bitter taste.[6][5] These hop acids are vinylogous acids, with acidic ring enols in conjugation with ring and substituent carbonyl groups.[7][8] Plants in the genus Humulus produce terpenophenolic metabolites.[9] Hops also contain xanthohumol, a prenylated chalcone, and other compounds.[10]


As of October 2020, the following species were accepted:[1]

For brewers' hops, which are specific cultivars, and propagated by asexual reproduction, see the article, "List of hop varieties".


Hops are boiled with the wort in brewing beer and sometimes added post-ferment; they impart a bitterness, flavor, as well as aroma to the finished product.[5]

In pharmacy lupulus is the designation of hop. The dried catkins, commonly referred to as hop cones, of the female plant of H. lupulus are used to prepare infusion of hop, tincture of hop, and extract of hop.[11]

Some of the compounds hops contain are under preliminary research for their potential health properties.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Humulus L." Plants of the World Online. Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  2. ^ Brickell, Christopher, ed. (2008). The Royal Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 550. ISBN 9781405332965.
  3. ^ Interactive Agricultural Ecological Atlas of Russia and Neighboring Countries. Economic Plants and their Diseases, Pests and Weeds. Humulus lupulus. Archived 2012-03-10 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Verzele, M.; De Keukeleire, D. (1991). Chemistry and analysis of hop and beer bitter acids. New York: Elsevier. ISBN 978-0-444-88165-6.
  5. ^ a b c Almaguer, Cynthia; Schönberger, Christina; Gastl, Martina; Arendt, Elke K.; Becker, Thomas (September 2014). "Humulus lupulus - a story that begs to be told. A review: Humulus lupulus - a story that begs to be told". Journal of the Institute of Brewing. doi:10.1002/jib.160.
  6. ^ Jaskula, Barbara; Kafarski, Pawel; Aerts, Guido; De Cooman, Luc (August 2008). "A Kinetic Study on the Isomerization of Hop α-Acids". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 56 (15): 6408–6415. doi:10.1021/jf8004965. PMID 18598038.
  7. ^ Urban, Jan; Dahlberg, Clinton J.; Carroll, Brian J.; Kaminsky, Werner (28 January 2013). "Absolute Configuration of Beer′s Bitter Compounds". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 52 (5): 1553–1555. doi:10.1002/anie.201208450. PMC 3563212. PMID 23239507.
  8. ^ De Keukeleire, Denis (February 2000). "Fundamentals of beer and hop chemistry". Química Nova. 23 (1): 108–112. doi:10.1590/S0100-40422000000100019.
  9. ^ Page, Jonathan E.; Nagel, Jana (2006). "Biosynthesis of terpenophenolic metabolites in hop and cannabis". Recent Advances in Phytochemistry. Vol. 40. pp. 179–210. doi:10.1016/S0079-9920(06)80042-0. ISBN 9780080451251.
  10. ^ a b Stevens, Jan F; Page, Jonathan E (May 2004). "Xanthohumol and related prenylflavonoids from hops and beer: to your good health!". Phytochemistry. 65 (10): 1317–1330. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2004.04.025. PMID 15231405.
  11. ^ Reynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). "Hop" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Company.

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