Nepeta cataria L.

catnip

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

The well-known intoxicating effects of catnip on domestic felines also occurs to their wild relatives including lions and jaguars but not tigers, cougars or bobcats. The effect of catnip on cat behavior varies greatly among individual domestic cats.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forests, meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
  • blue to purple
  • white
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
Flower symmetry
there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
  • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
  • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
Fusion of sepals and petals
both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
Stamen number
4
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Fruit length
1.3–1.7 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Anther color
    there is a noticeable pink, reddish or purplish tint to the anthers
    Anther opening
    the anthers have narrow slits or furrows that run lengthwise along the anthers
    Calyx growth after flowering
    • the calyx does not grow to cover or partially cover the fruit
    • the calyx grows to cover or partially cover the fruit
    Calyx symmetry
    • there are two or more ways to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is radially symmetrical)
    • there is only one way to evenly divide the calyx (the calyx is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla morphology
    the flower has two prominent lips
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower appearance
    the flowers appear after the leaves have appeared
    Flower description
    the flower has a superior ovary, and lacks a hypanthium
    Flower length
    At least 7 mm
    Flower orientation
    the flower points upwards or is angled outwards
    Flower petal color
    • blue to purple
    • white
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there is only one way to evenly divide the flower (the flower is bilaterally symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Form of style
    the style is branched above the base
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of sepals and petals
    both the petals and sepals are separate and not fused
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has hairs on it
    Hairs on inflorescence
    the axis of the inflorescence has hairs entirely without glands
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Hypanthium length
    0 mm
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Interior flower disk
    the flower has an interior disc
    Marks on petals
    the petals have spots or streaks on them
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    2
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    • there are five petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    • there are four petals, sepals, or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    the perianth is another shape
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal and sepal colors
    • blue to purple
    • white
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    NA
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    • there are hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    • there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length
    8–12 mm
    Petal length relative to sepals
    the petals are longer than the sepals
    Petal number
    5
    Petal shape
    the petal outline is another shape
    Petal tip shape
    • the petal tip is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the petal tip is lobed or fringed
    • the petal tip is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    • the petal tip is retuse (with a blunt or rounded apex and a notch at the center)
    • the petal tip is rounded
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Scales inside corolla
    no
    Sepal and petal color
    the sepals are different from the petals
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals are green or brown, and leaf-like in texture
    Sepal appendages
    the sepals do not have appendages on them
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal auricles
    the sepals have no auricles
    Sepal color
    • green to brown
    • pink to red
    Sepal length
    5–7 mm
    Sepal number
    5
    Sepal orientation
    the sepals are slightly curved outwards from the corolla
    Sepal relative length
    the sepal lobes are shorter than the fused portion
    Sepal shape
    • the sepal outline is lanceolate (lance-shaped; narrow, gradually tapering from the base to the tip)
    • the sepal outline is linear (extremely narrow, thread-like)
    • the sepal outline is roughly triangular
    • the sepal outline is subulate (narrowly tapering from the base to the apex; awl-shaped)
    Sepal texture
    the sepals are either very thin but flexible, like a membrane, or they are leaf-like in texture
    Sepal tip shape
    the sepal tip is acuminate (tapers to a very narrow point)
    Sepal uniformity
    • all the sepals are about the same size
    • one or more of the sepals is much narrower or shorter than the others
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are fused to each other (not other flower parts), at least near their bases
    Spur length
    0 mm
    Spur number
    NA
    Stamen appendages
    stamen appendages are absent
    Stamen attachment
    • the stamens are attached at or near the bases of the petals or tepals
    • the stamens are attached at or near the bases of the petals or tepals
    Stamen lengths differ
    the stamens are didynamous (two long stamens and two short ones)
    Stamen morphology
    the stamens within a cycle differ in length or width
    Stamen number
    4
    Stamen relative length
    anything
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Staminodes
    there are no staminodes on the flower
    Style petal-like
    the styles are not petal-like
    Style relative length
    the stigma does not protrude beyond the mouth of the corolla
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    the upper lip of the bilabiate corolla has two lobes
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Carpel beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit cross-section
    • the fruit is another shape in cross-section
    • the fruit is roughly quadrangular in cross-secgtion
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    1.3–1.7 mm
    Fruit length relative to sepals
    the fruit is shorter than its associated sepals
    Fruit locules
    four
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a schizocarp (when dry it splits into sections, each holding one or more seeds)
    Hairs on fruit
    • the fruits are not hairy
    • the fruits have hairs on them
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    1.3–1.7 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Ovary stipe
    the ovary or fruit does not have a stipe
    Ovary stipe length
    0 mm
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    the fruit is not flattened
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    4
    Seed number
    Up to 4
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Wings on fruit
    the fruit does not have wings on it
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Horizontal rooting stem
    the plant does not have stolons
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteole shape
    • the bracteoles are linear (very narrow, with more or less parallel sides)
    • the bracteoles are subulate (narrowly tapering from the base to the apex; awl-shaped)
    Bracteoles
    the plant has bracteoles between the primary bracts and the flowers
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bract texture
    the floral bracts are green, with a leaf-like texture
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Hairs on leaf stalk
    the petiole has hairs on it
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    opposite: there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has a distinct leaf stalk (petiole)
    Leaf blade base shape
    • the base of the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped, has rounded lobes at the base)
    • the base of the leaf blade is truncate (ends abruptly in a more or less straight line as though cut off)
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has teeth
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    • the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    • the leaf blade has tangled or woolly-looking hairs
    Leaf blade length
    25–80 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the primary vein
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is cordate (heart-shaped with backward-facing rounded lobes), or sagittate (arrow-shaped with backward-facing pointed lobes)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is triangular, with the stalk or attachment point on one of the sides
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is herbaceous (has a leafy texture)
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip (it may or may not have secondary veins)
    Leaf blade width
    21–47 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf sheath length
    0 mm
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have leaf stalks
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf stalk length
    7–35 mm
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    • the leaf blade margin has outward-pointing teeth
    • the leaf blade margin has rounded teeth
    Leaf tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf tufts in axils
    • there are clusters of smaller leaves growing out of axils
    • there are no clusters of smaller leaves growing out of axils
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    NA
    Leaf variation
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    there are two leaves per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule edges
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipule fused to leaf stalk
    NA
    Stipule length
    0 mm
    Stipule shape
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on the plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • forests
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    • the plant does not have much of a smell
    • the plant has a pleasant smell, for example anise, fruit, mint or resin
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is roughly square
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the hairs on the stem are plain, without glands or branches, and not tangled
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    30–150 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    the hairs on the stem are distributed more of less uniformly
    Stem nodes swollen
    the stem is not swollen at the nodes
    Stem orientation
    the stems are upright or angled outwards
    Stem spacing
    the plant is solitary, or a few plants are growing together
    Stem succulence
    the stems are not succulent
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

No

Family

Lamiaceae

Genus

Nepeta

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Nepeta cataria L. E

catnip. CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. Fields, roadsides, waste areas, deciduous forests, clearings.