Monday, October 7, 2013

Content Highlights - Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Do you have a Cat? If so, the greatest pleasure for it could be a gift that contains a plant called Catnip!

Nepeta cataria from Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin-Dahlem.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is up to 60 cm high perennial plant, blooming with white to pink flowers between July and September. The plant grows in highlands, along the watercourses or paths. The genus name “Nepeta” is derived from an old Roman city of Nepete (nowadays Italian city of Nepi) around which Catnip grew. The species name “cataria” means that it is attractive for cats.

Nepeta cataria from BHL.

This plant contains a substance called nepetalactone, which has similar effects for cats as cocaine has for people. If cats smell Catnip, they literally lost their mind, rubbing the plant or rolling in the plant. Some scientists think that it is actually a special strategy of seed dispersion. The seeds of Catnip get captured in the cat’s fur and then are bandied around. It is possible to buy cat’s toys filled by dried Catnip. Dry Catnip could also be hallucinogenic for people. Stay tuned!