Catnip – Nepeta cataria

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Nepeta cataria is a short lived herbaceous perennial, growing 50–100 centimetres tall and wide. It resembles a typical mint family member in appearance by having the characteristic square stem that members of the Lamiaceae plant family have, but with brown-green foliage. The coarse-toothed leaves are triangular to ovate.

The small bilabiate flowers can be white and finely spotted with pale purple or pink. They are showy and fragrant. The plant blooms from late spring through autumn.

Nepeta cataria is cultivated as an ornamental plant for use in gardens. It is also grown for its attractant qualities to house cats and butterflies.

The compound “iridodial” as extracted from catnip oil has been found to attract the beneficial insect known as lacewings which eat aphids and mites.

The plant is drought tolerant and deer resistant. It can be a repellant for certain insects, including aphids and squash bugs.

Nepeta cataria can be brewed to produce a herbal tea. Also used as a culinary herb for many dishes