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Common hop

Common hop (Humulus lupulus) is a medicinal plant.

Economic importance

Common hop has long been used in many peoples of the world for various purposes.

For brewing purposes, this plant is cultivated on special plantations in many countries, for example, in the USA, England, Germany, Russia. The main raw materials are “cones”, which contain 16-26% bitter resinous and 3% tannins, as well as 0.4% essential oils.

In limited quantities, the “cones” of common hops are used for baking some types of bread. The young shoots are sometimes used for culinary purposes.

Common hop is important as a medicinal plant. It has properties that improve appetite and digestion, and is used in the treatment of kidneys and bladder, irritability and insomnia, gout, rheumatism, etc.

Crop history

The first mention of the use of common hop for medicinal purposes refers to the Arabs and dates back to the VIII century. AD Around the same time, it began to be grown in Europe.

Cultivation areas and yield

Currently, the area of ​​cultivation of cultivated and wild hops occupies a large territory in Europe and Asia Minor.

In Russia, hops are distributed almost everywhere in the European and Asian parts of the country. Hop is considered a plant of Russian forests and does not belong to specially protected species. In forests of different types, it is usually found scattered – one or several plants.

Botanical description

Hop (Humulus lupulus L.) is a perennial herbaceous vine belonging to the Cannabinaceae family.

The root system is taproot with horizontal underground rhizomes.

Above-ground shoots can reach 7 m in length.

Leaves opposite, heart-shaped.

Male flowers are small, yellowish-green, located in axillary paniculate inflorescences. Female inflorescences are collected in capitate inflorescences, resembling “cones” in appearance.

The fruit is a nutlet, brown in color.

Flowering in July-August, fruiting in August-September.

Biological features

Hop is a moisture-loving and heat-loving plant.

The sum of temperatures for its development averages about 2600 °C. The optimal average daily temperature is 16-18 °C.

The optimal amount of annual precipitation is 450-650 mm, relative humidity is 70-80%.

Common hop is demanding on soils. It develops well on fertile soils with a slightly acidic reaction. Chernozems, gray forest, light and loamy soils are considered the best. Sandy, carbonate and waterlogged soils are unsuitable.

From the soil, hops absorb 3.5-4 times more nutrients (NPK) than winter wheat.

Hops are considered a plant sensitive to zinc deficiency in the soil.

Agrotechnology

Typically, hops are grown on permanent plantations ranging from 3-4 to 30-40 hectares for 15-20 years. For the growth and development of plants, special trellises up to 7 m high are constructed to support the above-ground part.

Growing hops from seeds is only important in breeding work.

To propagate this culture, a vegetative method is used using cuttings that are cut from the underground parts of the stems. For accelerated reproduction, rhizomes and shoots can also be used.

In some cases, the cultivation of special seedlings in nurseries is practiced.

The planting scheme in commercial hop farms: 2.25 x 1.0 m or 2.5 x 1.2 m. At the same time, the density of plants per 1 ha is 4.4 and 3.3 thousand plants.

Hop care includes:

  • pinching;
  • tweezing of lateral branches;
  • chasing the tops of the bushes.

The main goal of care work is to limit the growth processes of the vegetative organs and enhance the formation of “bumps”.

Cleaning and drying

Harvesting of the “cones” of hops begins at technical ripeness, that is, when the green color changes to a lighter, yellow-green or golden green. In a state of technical ripeness, the “cones” have a strong smell of lupulin.

Cleaning must be carried out quickly, as the browned “bumps” lose quality. During harvesting, the “bumps” break off separately with a petiole no more than 2 cm.

The moisture content of the “cones” at the time of harvesting is about 80%, so they are immediately sent for drying in special hop dryers. During drying, the moisture content of the “cones” is brought to 8-9%, after which they are pressed, packed into a fabric weighing 15-16 kg.

Sources

V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.