Nepeta cataria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Nepeta

See text.

Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their effect on cats—the nepetalactone contained in nepeta binds to the olfactory receptors of cats, typically resulting in temporary euphoria.[citation needed] Catmints are also used in herbal medicine for their mild sedative effect on humans.[1][unreliable source?]

The genus is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is now also common in North America.[2] Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to grayish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. The flowers are tubular and spotted with tiny purple dots.



Nepeta species can be subshrubs, herbaceous perennials or annual herbs. Nepeta cataria (also known as catnip, catswort, or catmint) is a plant in the Lamiaceae family. The common names can also be used to refer to the Nepeta genus as a whole. They are usually aromatic. The flowers are located in verticillasters grouped on spikes; or the verticillasters are arranged in opposite cymes, racemes, or panicles. The calyx is tubular or campanulate, they are slightly curved or straight, and the limbs are often 2-lipped with five teeth. The lower lip is larger, with 3-lobes, and the middle lobe is the largest. The flowers have 4 hairless stamens that are nearly parallel, and they ascend under the upper lip of the corolla. Two stamen are longer and stamens of pistillate flowers are rudimentary. The style protrudes outside of the mouth of the flowers. The fruits are nutlets, which are oblong-ovoid, ellipsoid, ovoid, or obovoid in shape. The surfaces of the nutlets can be slightly ribbed, smooth or warty.[3]

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Nepeta
Species: N. cataria
Binomial name
Nepeta cataria


Nepeta curviflora flowers
  • Nepeta cataria (Catnip, True Catnip, Catmint or Field Balm) is a 50–100 cm tall perennial herb resembling mint in appearance, with greyish-green leaves; the flowers are white, finely spotted with purple. It has been introduced to many countries, including the United States. A lemon-scented cultivar, N. cataria 'Citriodora', looks exactly like true catnip but has the scent of lemons and can be used like Lemon balm.
  • Nepeta grandiflora (Giant Catmint or Caucasus Catmint) is lusher than true catnip and has dark green leaves and dark blue, almost purple flowers.
  • Nepeta × faassenii (N. racemosa × N. nepetella; Faassen's Nepeta or Faassen's Catnip) is mostly grown as an ornamental plant. This hybrid is far smaller than either of above and is almost a ground cover. It has greyish-green leaves and light purple flowers.
  • Some Dracocephalum, Glechoma and Calamintha species were formerly classified in Nepeta.
  • Nepeta species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including Coleophora albitarsella.

Selected species

  • Nepeta agrestis
  • Nepeta annua
  • Nepeta apuleii
  • Nepeta beltranii
  • Nepeta camphorata
  • Nepeta cataria
  • Nepeta ciliaris
  • Nepeta coerulescens
  • Nepeta curviflora
  • Nepeta densiflora
  • Nepeta dentata
  • Nepeta dirphya
  • Nepeta discolor
  • Nepeta elliptica
  • Nepeta everardi
  • Nepeta floccosa
  • Nepeta foliosa
  • Nepeta fordii
  • Nepeta glutinosa
  • Nepeta govaniana
  • Nepeta granatensis
  • Nepeta grandiflora
  • Nepeta heldreichii
  • Nepeta hemsleyana
  • Nepeta hindost
  • Nepeta hispanica
  • Nepeta italica
  • Nepeta jomdaensis
  • Nepeta kokamirica
  • Nepeta kokanica
  • Nepeta laevigata
  • Nepeta lamiopsis
  • Nepeta latifolia
  • Nepeta leucolaena
  • Nepeta leucophylla
  • Nepeta longibracteata
  • Nepeta manchuriensis
  • Nepeta melissifolia
  • Nepeta membranifolia
  • Nepeta micrantha
  • Nepeta multibracteata
  • Nepeta multifida
  • Nepeta mussinii
  • Nepeta nepalensis
  • Nepeta nepetella
  • Nepeta nervosa
  • Nepeta nuda
  • Nepeta parnassica
  • Nepeta parviflora
  • Nepeta phyllochlamys
  • Nepeta prattii
  • Nepeta pungens
  • Nepeta racemosa
  • Nepeta raphanorhiza
  • Nepeta scordotis
  • Nepeta sessilis
  • Nepeta sibirica
  • Nepeta sibthorpii
  • Nepeta souliei
  • Nepeta spruneri
  • Nepeta staintonii
  • Nepeta stewartiana
  • Nepeta sungpanensis
  • Nepeta supina
  • Nepeta taxkorganica
  • Nepeta tenuiflora
  • Nepeta tenuifolia
  • Nepeta tuberosa
  • Nepeta ucranica
  • Nepeta veitchii
  • Nepeta virgata
  • Nepeta wilsonii
  • Nepeta yanthina
  • Nepeta zandaensis

Natural hybrids


  1. ^ "All About Catnip". Cat-World. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  2. ^ Leon L. Bram, editorial director, Robert S. Phillips, editor-in-chief, Norma H. Dickey, special projects editor-in-chief. (1983). Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. ISBN 0-8343-0051-6. 
  3. ^ "Nepeta". Flora of China 17: 107. 
  4. ^ "Nepeta cataria information from NPGS/GRIN". Retrieved 2008-04-07. 

Further reading

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Nepeta — Nepeta …   Wikipédia en Français

  • nepeta — ● nepeta nom féminin (latin nepeta, cataire) Synonyme de chataire. ● nepeta (synonymes) nom féminin (latin nepeta, cataire) Synonymes : chataire ⇒NÉPÈTE, NÉPÉTA, subst. fém. BOT. Genre de plantes labiacées à odeur forte dont …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • nepeta — / nɛpeta/ s.f. [der. del lat. scient. nepĕta ]. (bot.) [pianta erbacea della famiglia delle labiate dai fiori gialli, bianchi, blu o violetti] ▶◀ Ⓖ (fam.) erba gatta, Ⓖ (fam.) erba gattaria, gattaia …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • Nepeta — Nep e*ta, n. [L.] (Bot.) A genus of labiate plants, including the catnip and ground ivy. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Nepĕta — (N. L.), Pflanzengattung aus der Familie der Labiatae Nepeteae, 14. Kl. 1. Ordn. L.; Arten: N. cataria (Katzenminze), häufig an Rändern, Zäunen, von gewürzhaftem Geruch; auch in Gärten gezogen, sonst officinell, von den Katzen des Geruches wegen… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Nepeta — L. (Katzenminze), Gattung der Labiaten, Kräuter von sehr verschiedenem Habitus, mit gezahnten oder geschnittenen Blättern, gedrängten Scheinwirteln oder lockern, sehr entwickelten Cymen in terminalen Blütenständen. Etwa 150 Arten, meist in der… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Nepeta — Nepĕta L., Katzenminze, Pflanzengattg. der Labiaten, stark riechende Kräuter; bei uns N. catarĭa, die gemeine Katzenminze, als Hausmittel benutzt …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Nepeta —   [lateinisch], die Pflanzengattung Katzenminze.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Nepeta — Katzenminzen Nepeta transcaucasica Systematik Unterklasse: Asternähnliche (Asteridae) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nepeta — sibirica …   Wikipédia en Français

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