HVG Germany: Hopfen


Hop cone


dolde_bild2When the hops have reached the top of the trellis by the end of June/beginning of July, they come into burr. The flowering period lasts 3–4 weeks depending on the respective variety and growth conditions. The transition from the flower to the cone progresses gradually. As a rule it takes 2–3 weeks  for the cone to form until it is ready for picking. The compact cones develop from the set while the cones are forming. At the same time the strigs develop from the axes of the sets, the bracts from the sideleaves, the bracteoles from the upright leaves of which there is one on each little bloom. If it is not fertilized the fruit node withers away; when fertilized it forms the seeds. Unlike the smooth stem of which it is the continuation the strig is corrugated. The corrugation varies considerably. The nature of the strig is an indication of quality. "Fine hops" have a thin strig with close corrugations. This gives the cone good compactness.

The bracts and bracteoles are situated on approximately 10–12 joints of the strig. The bracts are pointed at the tip, the bracteoles are rounded. The bracts function as protective organs and contain few lupulin glands whereas the bracteoles are winged organs and have a wealth of lupulin glands, particularly at the bottom where there is a pocket-like fold.