Name: Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Other names: catswort, catwort, and catmint
Higher classification: Catnips
Description: Nepeta cataria is a short-lived perennial, herbaceous plant that grows to be 50–100 cm (20–40 in) tall and wide, which blooms from late spring through autumn. In appearance, N. cataria resembles a typical member of the mint family of plants, featuring brown-green foliage with the characteristic square stem of the plant family Lamiaceae. The coarse-toothed leaves are triangular to elliptical in shape. The small, bilabiate flowers of N. cataria are showy and fragrant, and are either pink in color or white with fine spots of pale purple.
Distribution: Native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China. It is widely naturalized in northern Europe, New Zealand, and North America.
Fun fact: A recent study by the American Chemical Society found that the nepetalactone in catnip binds to the olfactory receptors in a cat's nose and triggers a euphoric neurological response.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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