Humulus lupulus (common hop or hop) is a species of flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family, native to Europe, western Asia and North America. The hop is a component of beer, is a sedative plant whose pharmacological activity is due principally to its bitter resins. Vigorous perennial vine that produces the key ingredient that puts the "bitter" in beer. Can climb as high as 10 to 20 feet. Clusters of subtle, fragrant, greenish yellow flowers add texture in summer and mature to pendent, papery, cone-shaped fruits.
It is a dioecious, perennial, herbaceous climbing plant which sends up new shoots in early spring and dies back to a cold-hardy rhizome in autumn. Strictly speaking it is a bine rather than a vine, using its own shoots to act as supports for new growth.
A pale, ornamental variety, Humulus lupulus 'Aureus', is cultivated for garden use.
For medicinal use, H. lupulus contains the potent component, which may have a relative binding affinity to estrogen receptors. H. lupulus extract is antimicrobial, an activity which has been exploited in the manufacture of natural deodorant. Iinflorescences are used in brewing.
The Cascade Hop is a moderately bitter variety often used in West Coast Style Craft Ales.
Grow on a fence near an outdoor terrace to shade a south or west window from the summer heat, in a container with a tripod-shaped trellis, or over spring-flowering shrubs. Thrives in moist but well-drained, moderately fertile, humus-rich soil. Dies back in winter but comes back each year.