• “Weed” wanted for research: Common Hops (vs. invasive Japanese hops)

    This is from the Federated Garden Club’s Aug/Sept 2017 newsletter.  They’re looking for common hops growing in the wild.

    I first discovered hops several years ago growing by my mailbox, then in Elizabeth Park and along the road – in mostly sunny, sometimes weedy and areas that haven’t been tended for a bit.  I didn’t know what they were and took the vine and leaves to the UConn Master Gardener office in West Hartford for identification.  The bines (yes, bine, not vine) grow very quickly.  One way to identify them from other vines (wild grape, moonseed, porcelain berry, Virginia creeper, etc.) is that the stems have stiff hairs on them that allow them to “cling” for support and feel sticky when you grab them.  Only female plants produce hop “flowers” used  for brewing beer.  I haven’t noticed any “common” hops, but will pay closer attention now.  More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humulus

    Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group (CIPWG) 
    The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES)


    About “Common vs. Invasive Hops”
    Contributing Authors Dr. James LaMondia and Dr. Jeffrey Ward


    Prior to Prohibition, common hops (Humulus lupulus) were grown in Connecticut by folks brewing their own beer.  Some of these may have survived in the wild, but may be confused with the invasive Japanese hops (Humulus japonicus).  If we were to find any common hops growing in Connecticut, they could possibly be more resistant to diseases (e.g., downy mildew) than cultivated varieties.  If so, we would like to target breeding this disease resistance into a domesticated variety – and thus reduce pesticide use for locally grown hops.
    The species are easy to distinguish as common hop leaves are 3-lobed or non-lobed while Japanese hops have 5-7 (sometimes 9) lobes (see attached).  If you find any common hops, please provide Dr. James (Jim) LaMondia with a pressed sample/photo and good directions.  This would be a great help to Connecticut’s growing hop and local brewing movements.
    Jeffrey S. Ward, Chief Scientist
    Department of Forestry & Horticulture
    The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
    PO Box 1106, 123 Huntington Street
    New Haven, CT  06504-1106
    Phone: 203.974.8495
                           Common Hop                                                    Japanese Hop

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