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Catnip
Nepeta cataria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Nepeta
Species

See text.

Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their effect on cats—nepeta pleasantly stimulates cats' pheromonic receptors, typically resulting in temporary euphoria. According to traditional herb medicine, catnip tends to have a sedative effect on humans.[1]

The genus is native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is now also common in North America.[2] Most of the species are herbaceous perennial plants, but some are annuals. They have sturdy stems with opposite heart-shaped, green to grayish-green leaves. The flowers are white, blue, pink or lilac and occur in several clusters toward the tip of the stems. The flowers are tubular and spotted with tiny purple dots.

Contents

Uses

Oil isolated from catnip by steam distillation is a repellent against insects, in particular mosquitoes, cockroaches and termites.[3][4] Research suggests that in a test tube, distilled nepetalactone, the active ingredient in catnip, repels mosquitoes ten times more effectively than DEET, the active ingredient in most insect repellents,[5][6] but that it is not as effective a repellent when used on the skin.[7] Additionally, catnip and catnip-laced products designed for use with domesticated cats are available to consumers.

Effects on cats

Catnip and catmints are mainly known for the behavioral effects they have on cats, particularly domestics.[8] When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they may roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about and purr, or heavily salivate. Some will growl, meow, scratch, or bite the hand holding it. Some cats will eat dried catnip. Often, eating too much can cause cats to be overtly aggressive, typically making them hiss.

A domestic cat demonstrating the effects of catnip such as rolling, pawing, and frisking

About two thirds of cats are susceptible to catnip.[9] The phenomenon is hereditary; for example, most Australian cats do not react to it.[10] There is some disagreement about the susceptibility of lions and tigers to catnip.[10]

Catnip has nepetalactone, a terpene. Nepetalactone can be extracted from catnip by steam distillation.[11] Cats detect it through their olfactory epithelium, not through their vomeronasal organ.[12] At the olfactory epithelium, the nepetalactone binds to one or more olfactory receptors where it probably mimics a cat pheromone, such as the hypothetical feline facial pheromone or the cat urine odorant MMB.

Other plants that also have this effect on cats include valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and plants that contain actinidine or dihydroactinidiolide (Smith, 2005).

Species

Nepeta curviflora flowers
  • Nepeta cataria (Catnip, True Catnip, Catmint or Field Balm) is a 50–100 cm tall perennial herb resembling mint in appearance, with greyish-green leaves; the flowers are white, finely spotted with purple. It has been introduced to many countries, including the United States. A lemon-scented cultivar, N. cataria 'Citriodora', looks exactly like true catnip but has the scent of lemons and can be used like Lemon balm.
  • Nepeta grandiflora (Giant Catmint or Caucasus Catmint) is lusher than true catnip and has dark green leaves and dark blue, almost purple flowers.
  • Nepeta × faassenii (N. racemosa × N. nepetella; Faassen's Nepeta or Faassen's Catnip) is mostly grown as an ornamental plant. This hybrid is far smaller than either of above and is almost a ground cover. It has greyish-green leaves and light purple flowers.
Selected species
  • Nepeta agrestis
  • Nepeta annua
  • Nepeta apuleii
  • Nepeta beltranii
  • Nepeta camphorata
  • Nepeta cataria
  • Nepeta ciliaris
  • Nepeta coerulescens
  • Nepeta curviflora
  • Nepeta densiflora
  • Nepeta dentata
  • Nepeta dirphya
  • Nepeta discolor
  • Nepeta elliptica
  • Nepeta everardi
  • Nepeta floccosa
  • Nepeta foliosa
  • Nepeta fordii
  • Nepeta glutinosa
  • Nepeta govaniana
  • Nepeta granatensis
  • Nepeta grandiflora
  • Nepeta heldreichii
  • Nepeta hemsleyana
  • Nepeta hindost
  • Nepeta hispanica
  • Nepeta italica
  • Nepeta jomdaensis
  • Nepeta kokamirica
  • Nepeta kokanica
  • Nepeta laevigata
  • Nepeta lamiopsis
  • Nepeta latifolia
  • Nepeta leucolaena
  • Nepeta leucophylla
  • Nepeta longibracteata
  • Nepeta manchuriensis
  • Nepeta melissifolia
  • Nepeta membranifolia
  • Nepeta micrantha
  • Nepeta multibracteata
  • Nepeta multifida
  • Nepeta mussinii
  • Nepeta nepalensis
  • Nepeta nepetella
  • Nepeta nervosa
  • Nepeta nuda
  • Nepeta parnassica
  • Nepeta parviflora
  • Nepeta phyllochlamys
  • Nepeta prattii
  • Nepeta pungens
  • Nepeta racemosa
  • Nepeta raphanorhiza
  • Nepeta scordotis
  • Nepeta sessilis
  • Nepeta sibirica
  • Nepeta sibthorpii
  • Nepeta souliei
  • Nepeta spruneri
  • Nepeta staintonii
  • Nepeta stewartiana
  • Nepeta sungpanensis
  • Nepeta supina
  • Nepeta taxkorganica
  • Nepeta tenuiflora
  • Nepeta tenuifolia
  • Nepeta tuberosa
  • Nepeta ucranica
  • Nepeta veitchii
  • Nepeta virgata
  • Nepeta wilsonii
  • Nepeta yanthina
  • Nepeta zandaensis

Natural hybrids

  • Nepeta × faassenii

References

  1. ^ "All About Catnip". Cat-World. http://www.cat-world.com.au/Catnip.htm. Retrieved March 14, 2009.  
  2. ^ Leon L. Bram, editorial director, Robert S. Phillips, editor-in-chief, Norma H. Dickey, special projects editor-in-chief. (1983). Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia. Vol. 5. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. ISBN 0-8343-0051-6.  
  3. ^ Schultz, Gretchen; Peterson, Chris; Coats, Joel (May 25, 2006). "Natural Insect Repellents: Activity against Mosquitoes and Cockroaches". in Rimando, Agnes M.; Duke, Stephen O.. Natural Products for Pest Management. ACS Symposium Series. American Chemical Society. http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/ja/ja_schultz001.pdf.  
  4. ^ "Termites Repelled by Catnip Oil". Southern Research Station, United States Department of Agriculture – Forest Service. March 26, 2003. http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/news/110.  
  5. ^ Dennis Loney (2001-08-28). "Mosquito Repellents". American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on 26 April 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20060426234808/http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/feature_ent.html?id=4acf6768ce1b11d5f2944fd8fe800100. Retrieved 2007-08-28.  
  6. ^ Kingsley, Danny (September 3, 2001). "Catnip sends mozzies flying". ABC Science Online. http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/health/HealthRepublish_355524.htm. Retrieved February 14, 2009.  
  7. ^ Chauhan, K.R.; Klun, Jerome A.; Debboun, Mustapha; Kramer, Matthew (2005). "Feeding Deterrent Effects of Catnip Oil Components Compared with Two Synthetic Amides Against Aedes aegypti". Journal of Medical Entomology 42 (4): 643–646. doi:10.1603/0022-2585(2005)042[0643:FDEOCO]2.0.CO;2.  
  8. ^ Grognet J (June 1990). "Catnip: Its uses and effects, past and present". Can. Vet. J. 31 (6): 455–456. PMID 17423611. PMC 1480656. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/picrender.fcgi?artid=1480656&blobtype=pdf.  
  9. ^ Turner, Ramona (May 29, 2007). "How does catnip work its magic on cats?". Scientific American. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=experts-how-does-catnip-work-on-cats. Retrieved February 14, 2009.  
  10. ^ a b Durand, Marcella (March 4, 2003). "Heavenly Catnip". CatsPlay.com. http://www.catsplay.com/thedailycat/2003-04-14/mind_happycat/heavenly_catnip/heavenly_catnip.html. Retrieved February 14, 2009.  
  11. ^ "DIY Kitty Crack: ultra-potent catnip extract". Instructables. June 3, 2007. http://www.instructables.com/id/EMDCESQF2DSDRAG/. Retrieved February 14, 2009.  
  12. ^ Hart, Benjamin L.; Leedy, Mitzi G. (July 1985). "Analysis of the catnip reaction: mediation by olfactory system, not vomeronasal organ". Behavioral and neural biology 44 (1): 38–46. doi:10.1016/S0163-1047(85)91151-3. PMID 3834921.  

Further reading

External links

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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Unassigned Nepetoideae
Genus: Nepeta
Species: N. bucharica - N. cataria - N. clarkei - N. congesta - N. curviflora - N. cyanea - N. discolor - N. erecta - N. floccosa - N. grandiflora - N. hindostana - N. ispahanica - N. laevigata - N. manchurensis - N. mussinii - N. nepetella - N. nuda - N. parviflora - N. racemosa - N. raphanorhiza - N. sibirica - N. tenuifolia - N. transcaucasica

Name

Nepeta L.

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Echte Katzenminze
English: Nepeta
Español: menta gatera
Français: Cataire
Italiano: Nepeta
Latina: Nepeta
Lietuvių: Katžolė
Nederlands: Nepeta
日本語: マタタビ
Polski: Kocimiętka
Русский: Котовник
Suomi: Aitokissanminttu
Svenska: Kattmynta
Türkçe: Nepeta
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Nepeta on Wikimedia Commons.

Simple English

Catnip
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Nepeta
Species

See text.

Nepeta is a genus of about 250 species of flowering plants in the family Lamiaceae. The members of this group are known as catnip or catmint because of their famed effect on cats.

Species

This is a selected species list.

  • Nepeta agrestis
  • Nepeta annua
  • Nepeta apuleii
  • Nepeta beltranii
  • Nepeta camphorata
  • Nepeta cataria
  • Nepeta ciliaris
  • Nepeta coerulescens
  • Nepeta curviflora
  • Nepeta densiflora
  • Nepeta dentata
  • Nepeta dirphya
  • Nepeta discolor
  • Nepeta elliptica
  • Nepeta everardi
  • Nepeta floccosa
  • Nepeta foliosa
  • Nepeta fordii
  • Nepeta glutinosa
  • Nepeta govaniana
  • Nepeta granatensis
  • Nepeta grandiflora
  • Nepeta heldreichii
  • Nepeta hemsleyana
  • Nepeta hindost\\
  • Nepeta hispanica
  • Nepeta italica
  • Nepeta jomdaensis
  • Nepeta kokamirica
  • Nepeta kokanica
  • Nepeta laevigata
  • Nepeta lamiopsis
  • Nepeta latifolia
  • Nepeta leucolaena
  • Nepeta leucophylla
  • Nepeta longibracteata
  • Nepeta manchuriensis
  • Nepeta melissifolia
  • Nepeta membranifolia
  • Nepeta micrantha
  • Nepeta multibracteata
  • Nepeta multifida
  • Nepeta mussinii
  • Nepeta nepalensis
  • Nepeta nepetella
  • Nepeta nervosa
  • Nepeta nuda
  • Nepeta parnassica
  • Nepeta parviflora
  • Nepeta phyllochlamys
  • Nepeta prattii
  • Nepeta pungens
  • Nepeta racemosa
  • Nepeta raphanorhiza
  • Nepeta scordotis
  • Nepeta sessilis
  • Nepeta sibirica
  • Nepeta sibthorpii
  • Nepeta souliei
  • Nepeta spruneri
  • Nepeta staintonii
  • Nepeta stewartiana
  • Nepeta sungpanensis
  • Nepeta supina
  • Nepeta taxkorganica
  • Nepeta tenuiflora
  • Nepeta tenuifolia
  • Nepeta tuberosa
  • Nepeta ucranica
  • Nepeta veitchii
  • Nepeta virgata
  • Nepeta wilsonii
  • Nepeta yanthina
  • Nepeta zandaensis

Natural hybrids

  • Nepeta × faassenii

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