Catnip, Nepeta cataria
Lamiaceae or Mint Family
Low plant, 1 to 3 feet tall. Leaves opposite each
other, heart-shaped, with large teeth and strongly marked veins. Crushed leaves have a strong aroma that cats like. toothed, with strongly marked veins and a
strong peppermint odor. Larger leaves with distinct
stalks. Flowers small, pale lilac to nearly whitep, in
a short spike at the top of the stalk. Individual flowers
have a wide, flaring, spotted lower apron. Blooms in summer.
Introduced exotic plant of waste places and roadsides, occasionally cultivated.
This is the same plant that commercial catnip comes from. In Wildwood, occasional along the Riverway bike path, sometimes hidden by taller plants.
Many somewhat similar plants in the mint family have been found in Wildwood. The pale lilac blooms and strongly marked heart-shaped leaves are good identifiers. The odor is distinctive if one learns to recognize it. If a cat is available, a definitive identification may be made.
Catmint (N. racemosa) is related and also attractive to cats, but it has much larger, showier flowers.