The hop is a small genus of flowering plants in the family Cannabaceae. Hops are the female flowers (seed cones, strobiles) of the plant and are considered the main flavor ingredient in making beer. Although frequently referred to as hops “vine”, this plant is technically a bine. Bines have stout stems with stiff hairs to aid them in climbing. They are a vigorous grower with the ability to extend up to 20 inches a week, and even 50 ft tall in one season. They are typically trained on strings up to 25 ft tall.
The hop is native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere where currently the most acreage of production occurs. Although these plants have a very long life cycle, with the continued popularity of microbrews across the globe, genetics for flavoring have dictated how long these plants stay in the ground. They emerge each year towards the end of Spring and are harvested near the end of Summer.