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Vascular Plants of California
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Nepeta cataria

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Common Name: MINT FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub [tree, vine], glabrous to hairy, generally aromatic. Stem: generally erect, generally 4-angled. Leaf: generally simple to deeply lobed, generally opposite, generally gland-dotted. Inflorescence: generally cymes, generally many in dense axillary clusters surrounding stem, generally separated by evident internodes or collectively crowded, spike- or panicle-like, occasionally head-like or raceme, subtended by leaves or bracts; flowers sessile or pedicelled. Flower: generally bisexual; calyx generally 5-lobed, radial to bilateral; corolla generally bilateral, 1--2-lipped, upper lip entire or 2-lobed, +- flat to hood-like, occasionally 0, lower lip generally 3-lobed; stamens generally 4, epipetalous, generally exserted, paired, pairs generally unequal, occasionally 2, staminodes 2 or 0; ovary superior, generally 4-lobed to base chambers 2, ovules 2 per chamber, style 1, generally arising from center at junction of lobes, stigmas generally 2. Fruit: generally 4 nutlets, generally ovoid to oblong, smooth.
Genera In Family: +- 230 genera, 7200 species: worldwide. Many cultivated for herbs, oils (Lavandula, lavender; Mentha, mint; Rosmarinus, rosemary; Thymus, thyme), some cultivated as ornamental (in California Cedronella, Leonotis, Monarda, Phlomis). Note: Moluccella laevis L., shell flower, historical waif in California. Satureja calamintha (L.) Scheele subsp. ascendens (Jordan) Briq. reported as alien but not naturalized. Salazaria moved to Scutellaria; California Hyptis moved to Condea, California Satureja moved to Clinopodium.
eFlora Treatment Author: Dieter H. Wilken & Margriet Wetherwax, family description, key to genera, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: NepetaView Description 

Habit: [Annual], perennial herb, glabrous to hairy. Stem: erect, generally branched. Leaf: generally petioled. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal, head- or spike-like, occasionally panicle, flower clusters subtended by leaves or bracts. Flower: calyx +- radial, +- 15-veined, lobes generally +- equal; corolla 2-lipped, upper lip +- 2-lobed, < lower, hood-like, lower lip 3-lobed, central lobe > lateral lobes; stamens 4, enclosed by or exceeding upper lip. Fruit: nutlets smooth to rough.
Species In Genus: +- 250 species: Eurasia, Africa. Etymology: (Latin: ancient name for catnip)
eFlora Treatment Author: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Jamzad et al. 2003 Taxon 52:21--32
Nepeta cataria L.
Habit: Plant < 1.5 m. Stem: short-hairy to canescent. Leaf: 1.5--7.5 cm; petiole < blade; blade wide-lanceolate to ovate, base lobed, margin crenate to serrate, adaxially short-hairy, abaxially densely short-appressed-hairy. Inflorescence: lower short-peduncled, subtended by leaves, upper subtended by short linear bracts. Flower: calyx 5--6 mm, short-hairy, lobes stiff, acuminate; corolla 6--10 mm, puberulent, white, lower lip purple-spotted, central lobe minutely crenate; upper stamens > lower. Chromosomes: 2n=36.
Ecology: Moist, generally shaded areas; Elevation: < 1300 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA-FP; Distribution Outside California: to British Columbia, eastern United States; native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: Jul--Sep
Jepson eFlora Author: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken
Reference: Jamzad et al. 2003 Taxon 52:21--32
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Citation for this treatment: John M. Miller & Dieter H. Wilken 2012, Nepeta cataria, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 14, 2018.

Nepeta cataria
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© 2010 Barry Breckling

More photos of Nepeta cataria in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Nepeta cataria:
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.