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I'm looking for some info on this for reasons of domestication of wild hops that grow around. I need to sort out male plants from the batches I pick up in the wild -- currently I'm just waiting until some flowers appear and prune male hops after that, but this process is actually not very fast nor resource efficient...

Q: Is there any possible reliable method to tell apart small male and female hop plants before they start flowering?

Thanks!

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Short answer; no. (Unless the parent was old school and painted the room blue or pink.)

However, for a flowering plant:

Cones are the female flower. The male flowers appear as small clusters of round buds

from http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=405875

First comment on page has a pic of both.

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    After a lot of additional googling and with having no PCR machine, I'm accepting this as impossible. – exa Jun 5 '15 at 12:42
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    Have you tried taking it out of the ground and looking between it's hind roots? :p ... I have been drinking... – Atron Seige Jun 6 '15 at 17:32

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