Nepeta cataria catnip Lamiaceae Bx, nb, pb; Q (DeCandido 2001); R, hs;

 

Nepeta cataria.en.wikipedia.org

Nepeta cataria.en.wikipedia.org (Accessed 4/2014).

Nepeta cataria is a perennial herb to 1 m tall from a taproot, stem branched above, crushed leaves aromatic but not strongly “minty”, most parts densely softly gray-hairy. 

Leaves opposite, to 8 cm long, egg to heart-shaped, tip pointed, base blunt to lobed, margin coarsely toothed, white-hairy below, stalk half as long as blade. 

Flowers whitish with pink or purple spots, to 1.2 cm long, bilaterally symmetrical, tubular, 2-lipped, lower lip 3-lobed, finely toothed. 

Fruit dry, 4 nutlets; blooms and fruits July-Oct. 

Wetland status: FACU. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent. 

Origin: Eurasia. 

Habitat: Disturbed, open habitats. 

Notes: Aromatic sap of crushed or dry plants, contains the monoterpene lactone, nepetalactone, that is infamously attractive to domestic cats (Felis domestica). This compound is also a pheromone secreted by the female vetch aphid (Myoura viciae). Another study has shown this compound acts as a deterrent to herbivorous insects (Harborne 1988).