|Nepeta subsp. var.|
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—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. According to traditional herb medicine, catnip tends to have a sedative effect on humans.
The genus is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is now also common in North America. 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.
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Nepeta (Latin, perhaps from Nepete, an Etrurian city). Labiatae. This group includes catnip, ground ivy and some other hardy perennial herbs of the easiest culture.
Perennial or annual herbs, tall and erect, or dwarf and more or less trailing: lvs. dentate or incised, the floral ones like the rest or reduced to bracts: whorls of fls. crowded in a dense spike, or in a loose cyme, rarely few-fld. and axillary; fls. blue or white, seldom yellow; calyx 15-nerved; corolla somewhat 2-lipped; upper lip straight or erect; lower lip spreading, 3-lobed, with the large center lobe concave; perfect stamens 4. in pairs, the 2 shorter ones in front; ovary 4-parted. The genus is placed near Lopanthus and Dracocephalum, and is characterized as follows: calyx tubular, the mouth straight or oblique, 5-toothed; stamens usually parallel, ascending; anther-cells divergent or divaricate.— About 150 species, mostly in the northern hemisphere outside the Old World tropics.
Catnip is a familiar weed near dwellings and barns. Cats are fond of it, and catnip tea is a pungent memory with those who have survived the era of homely simples. The seeds of catnip are still offered. Ground ivy (N. hederacea) also grows wild in America, and a form of it with variegated foliage is cultivated for edging flower-beds or covering banks and stones. It is hardy in light well-drained soils, but sometimes winter-kills in moist soils. It is also used in vases and baskets. N. hederacea is a perennial creeping plant of easy culture in any loose, rich, fairly moist soil in either shade or full sunlight, but to be luxuriant in the open it should have a moist rootage. It is a very rapid grower, and is therefore often troublesome when planted with other low-growing plants. It is very useful as a ground-covering in shrubbery borders and shady places generally, particularly where it can hang over curbs or edgings or where a good sward cannot be secured.
Pests and diseases
- 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.
- Nepeta species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including Coleophora albitarsella.
- Selected species
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
- w:Nepeta. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
- Nepeta QR Code (Size 50, 100, 200, 500)
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