Dave Mitchell 2001
herbaceous, native climber has large, deeply lobed
leaves. Male and female hop flowers are produced on separate plants:
the males are branched yellow-green clusters and the females form
pale yellow-green, cone-like catkins. When ripe, the female catkins
turn a light brown and hang in delicate and papery clusters. The
plant was mainly grown for use in the brewing industry, where it is
an important flavouring in beers.
Hop is a
useful species to scramble over a fence or shed or to
cover something unsightly.
It is one of
the food plants
of the Mother-of-pearl
moth and the Red
Admiral and Comma
the hop is first mentioned in the writings of Pliny.
He speaks of it as a garden plant of the Romans who ate the young
shoots in spring in the same way as we eat asparagus. In this
country, the young tops of hop used to be brought to market tied up
in small bunches for table use. Blanched, these tender young tips
apparently made a good pot herb. The leaves and flowerheads have also
been used to produce a fine brown dye.