Field of Science

ID this plant!

On my homeward trek, somewhat earlier than usual, this rather healthy specimen of a vine caught my attention, adorned as it was in fruit. So before it pulls down this utility pole, can anyone identify this utilitarian plant?
While you're having a go at this, the Phactor will sit back and enjoy a cold one. Oh yes, it's not a native, but was named formerly like it was one.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. The fruit reminds me of Humulus. . .

~Shelley

Dr A said...

Yes, you're right! That's a lot of hops climbing that pole, Humulus lupulus, formerly Humulus americanus. I'm surprised the local microbrewery hasn't harvested them. Last year they took the Phactor's personal hops that grow up the side of our building, and got one draft beer in compensation.

Sally said...

So American hops... isn't? Looks like the Plants Database shows all varieties but H. lupulus var. lupulus as natives. Ditto Natureserve. Now I need to find out how to tell them apart? Yikes!!

Dr A said...

This is not a worry. The varieties seem to intergrade with each other in many places meaning that in one place you may find plants fitting the description of a particular variety, but in other locations, the characters may not seem so clear.
Humulus lupulus is an exotic, so how can one variety be native? Natureserve lists them all as exotics. Calling one variety "American" has certainly generated much confusion. But the important point is that they make beer taste and smell good.