3. Sex life of hops

Hop is a dioecious, wind-dusty plant; cones are produced only by female plants. In cultures, they grow only vegetatively and the individual varieties are maintained by cloning – “chopping” of the rhizomes. Wild varieties are sexually reproduced unlimitedly and are therefore used as a “gene bank” for breeding.

GPS: N 50°19.771´,E 013°36.911´show on map

3. Sex life of hops

Hop is a dioecious, wind- dusty plant: that means that there are both male and female individuals. Wind-dustiness is then manifested by the lack of distinctive colored flower with nectar, usually attracting insect pollinators, but rather be a functional hop cone architecture that ensures successful pollination. Hop cones - the essential part of the hop plant – are only produced by female plants. The peculiarity of hops is that this rule is not entirely strict – very rarely, it can be hermaphrodite plant, even with fertile anthers. This occurrence is most likely a reaction to habitat condition, but the reasons are not entirely known.

Hops grown from seeds are extremely variable – each plant has different characteristics and habitat requirements, and it is a major problem for industrial hop growing. Therefore, the hops are only grown vegetatively in the cultures and the individual varieties are maintained by cloning, in practice by “chopping” hops rhizomes. In the open air – even here in Poohří, the wild varieties and cultivars of hops often occurs side by side. Hop breeders use targeted pollination of cultivars by wild varieties often because they bring some interesting characteristics of wild varieties to the culture – typically, for example, resistance to various pests (viruses, fungal diseases, etc). Freely grown hop varieties, which you can see on the banks of the Ohře River, sometimes act as a wild gene bank.

Currently, about 11 varieties of hops are grown in the Žatec region: new varieties, better adapted to the current climate, are still being bred. The most famous is Saaz varieties, a clone bred before World War II. by the breeder Karel Osvald. It is the flagship of Saaz hop growing, but at the same time it is considerably threatened by the effects of global climate change (see n.1).


It is estimated that there are a total of 90 hop varieties in the world. You can find up to 14 of them here.

Have you not visited the hop path yet?

So you can take a stroll and read interesting facts about hops and the place.

You are entering the grounds of the Hop Institute, where agricultural machinery moves all year around. Take extra care! Enter at your own risk.


Hop Research Institute Co., LTD
Kadanska 2525
438 01 Zatec
+420 415 732 111


Stekník, 438 01 Žatec


Beer tasting during the beer festival at the Hop Research Institute in Žatec.

-traditional event for invited experts and laics at the Hop Research Institute
-accompanying program at the beer festival