catnip

(Nepeta cataria)

Conservation Status
catnip
 
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
Wetland Indicator Status
     
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Midwest

FACU - Facultative upland

     
  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Catnip is a 12 to 40 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on usually multiple stems from a taproot and fibrous roots.

The stems are erect, light green, leafy, 4-angled, and branched above the middle. They are densely covered with short, fine, white, nonglandular, downward-pointing hairs.

The leaves are opposite, egg-shaped to triangular, 1 to 2¾ long, and ¾ to 1¾ wide. They are on slender, ¼ to 1¼ long leaf stalks. They become smaller and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem. The blades are heart-shaped to wedge-shaped at the base and taper to a point at the tip. The upper surface is green and moderately covered with short, fine, white hairs. The lower surface is grayish-green and densely hairy to almost woolly with short, fine, gray hairs. The margins are coarsely toothed with rounded teeth. The leaves are noticeably fragrant with an herbal, not minty, scent.

The inflorescence is a dense, branched, interrupted cluster (panicle) at the end of the stem and branches. The panicles are ¾ to 2 long and ½ to 1½ wide. The flowers are arranged in dense whorls that are subtended by hairless, broadly egg-shaped, abruptly tapered, inconspicuous bracts.

The flowers are to long. There are 5 sepals, 5 petals, and 4 stamens. The sepals are green and are fused at the base into a 3 16 to ¼ long calyx tube then separated at the tip into 5 teeth. The petals are dull white. They are fused at the base into a slender corolla tube then separated at the tip into 2 widely spreading lips. The upper lip has 2 lobes. The lower lip has 2 small lateral lobes and a large central lobe that is sometimes notched. The lower lip has many small purple spots. The stamens have white to pinkish-white filaments and purple anthers. They extend just outside of the corolla tube.

The fruit is an egg-shaped, reddish-brown, 1-seeded nutlet.

Catnip is easily identified In the early spring. It appears as a dense cluster of grayish-green, fuzzy, mint-like leaves. Identification can be confirmed by crushing one of the leaves to release the characteristic, non-minty odor.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

12 to 40

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White with pink spots

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Moist to dry. Disturbed sites. Full or partial sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

July to August

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 22, 28.

 
  10/12/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native to Asia and Europe. Introduced, cultivated, escaped cultivation, and now naturalized in North America.

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (dicots)  
  Superorder Asteranae  
 

Order

Lamiales (mints, plantains, olives, and allies)  
 

Family

Lamiaceae (mint)  
  Subfamily Nepetoideae  
  Tribe Mentheae  
 

Subtribe

Nepetinae  
  Genus Nepeta (catmint)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
     
       
 

Common Names

 
 

catmint

catnip

catwort

field balm

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Axil

The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.

 

Bract

Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.

 

Calyx

The group of outer floral leaves (sepals) below the petals, occasionally forming a tube.

 

Corolla

A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.

 

Filament

On plants: The thread-like stalk of a stamen which supports the anther. On Lepidoptera: One of a pair of long, thin, fleshy extensions extending from the thorax, and sometimes also from the abdomen, of a caterpillar.

 

Panicle

A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.

 

Rhizome

A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

       
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   

Plant

  catnip   catnip
       
  catnip   catnip
       

Plant in Early Spring

  catnip    
       

Inflorescence

  catnip   catnip
       
  catnip   catnip
       

Flower Head

  catnip   catnip
       

Leaves

  catnip   catnip
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Catnip
DianesDigitals
 
  Catnip  
 
About

Copyright DianesDigitals

 
     
  Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Bill Keim
 
  Catnip (Nepeta cataria)  
     
  Nepeta cataria (Catnip)
Allen Chartier
 
  Nepeta cataria (Catnip)  

 

slideshow

       
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MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
   

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Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA

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Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Mississippi River County Park

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