Catnip. Nepeta cataria L.

Figure 36.—Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Other Common Names

Cataria, catmint, catwort, catrup.

Habitat And Range

Catnip, a common weed, occurs in rather dry soil in waste places and cultivated land from New Brunswick to Minnesota and south to Virginia and Arkansas.


Catnip has a somewhat whitish appearance due to the fine white hairs on the stems. It grows to a height of from 2 to 3 feet with erect, square, branched stems. The leaves, from 1 to 2 1/2 inches in length, are somewhat heart-shaped, covered below with fine white hairs. From June to September the plant produces thick flowering spikes at the end of the stem and branches, consisting of many whitish flowers dotted with purple. The plant has a strong odor.