Catmint, Nepeta racemosa
(also called N. mussinii)
Lamiaceae or Mint Family


Low plant, 1 to 2 ft tall. Leaves opposite each other, egg-shaped, with big teeth and strongly marked veins, aromatic. Stems square, fuzzy. Flowers in a long one-sided cluster. Flowers lavender to purple, showy, typical of the mint family, tubular, with flaring lobes; lower lobe particularly large with sublobes. Blooms in summer.

A native of the Caucasus of Asia, often cultivated, and sometimes escaping into the wild. In Wildwood, planted near the entrance sign on Main Street, but would not be surprising to find it escaped into the Park.


The square stems and opposite, aromatic leaves identify this as a member of the mint family. It could be mistaken for lyre-leaved sage (Salvia lyrata), but that has very different leaves, and flowers in whorls rather than long clusters. It could also be mistaken for showy skullcap (Scutellaria serrata), but the flowers and leaves of that species are rather different. Catnip (N. cataria) has very small, pale flowers. Catmint is supposed to be attractive to cats, although not as much as true catnip.

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