Nepeta

Nepeta spp.

A genus of around 250 species of usually herbaceous perennial plants and a few annuals in the dead nettle family native to Europe, Asia and Africa and also naturalised in North America. They have heart-shaped grey-green, often downy aromatic foliage usually arranged in pairs up the flowering stem and whorls of tubular flowers in shades of mauve, blue, white or pink. Some species are known as catmint or catnip because of the euphoric effect of the scent on some felines. As the name suggests, cats are attracted to the plant and will often eat the leaves or roll in the foliage. Most of the plant is edible and can be used in soups or sauces or brewed into a tea. Several species are cultivated as ornamental plants for their drought-tolerant qualities and long flowering period. They are very attractive to insect pollinators.
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