What is going on here?

I started noticing these clusters (see photo) of bud-like structures on my Amalia hops. It’s almost like whole bud clusters failed to ever flower and make cones. The bines are doing well with the number of cones on them, but I found these clusters in about 3 different locations. When the bines flowered, it was 90+ degrees and dry here, so I wonder if they were stressed. I’m not as familiar with the neomexicanus hops, so maybe this is normal for them? I actually took some of these “failed buds” off the bines, and inside, it was very hard like a seed. However, since I don’t have any male plants (at least I don’t think I do), this wouldn’t be possible, correct?

I would say those are pretty definitely seeds.

The seeds are formed at the base of the bracteoles (inside the cones) and whoever created this sketch did a pretty good job: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ … ne-v03.png. What you’re seeing on the Amalia look to be male reproductive structures. This is the second time in two days that I’ve seen folks commenting on this phenomenon on that particular variety. Sometimes when the plants are grown outside their ‘comfort zone’ they begin to act up and apparently some of the genes from their father are triggered, producing this response. Zeus is another variety that is really prone to this.