Common Hops

Common Hops
Common Hop. Humulus lupulus.
Cannabaceae, formerly cannabinaceae, the hemp family.

Plant: Twining vine, 3'-20'+ with opposite, lobed leaves, rather inconspicuous greenish or whitish flowers, and aromatic fruits consisting of a soft, cone-like arrangement of bracts - the classic hop form. Perrenial
Flowers: Greenish or whitish, and rather inconspicuous, about 1/2", axillary. There are separate male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers on the same plant. The units are actually clusters of small flowers; what looks like sepals are bracts; the whole arrangement somewhat unusual in overall appearance.
Leaves: Opposite, usually with 3-5 palmate lobes and serrated margins, 2"-5", petioles usually not quite as long as the leaf. Generally quite a lot of stem between pairs of leaves.
Fruit: Sort, cone-like arrangement of bracts, 1"-2" long, with yellow granules of bitter, aromatic resin on the lower surfaces.
Blooming: May-July
Habitat: Waste areas, fencerows, old homesteads, marginal thickets near streams.

Comments: This is the plant famously used to flavor beer. Both native and introduced, cultivated varieties are widely distributed across North America; precisely differentiating varieties is difficult. The vines can become quite long, sometimes over 20 feet. There are often maturing fruits on lower portions and new flowers on the upper portions at the same time.

Where to find it: I have found this plant only on the west side of the entrance road, about midway between the parking lot and the main road.