Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, catswort, catwort, and catmint, is a species of the genus Nepeta in the family Lamiaceae, native to southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China. It is widely naturalized in northern Europe, New Zealand, and North America. The common name catmint can also refer to the genus as a whole.
The names catnip and catmint are derived from the intense attraction about two-thirds of cats have toward them (alternative plants exist). In addition to its uses with cats, catnip is an ingredient in some herbal teas (or tisanes), and is valued for its sedative and relaxant properties.
Compound of cat + Middle English nep, from Old English nepte, from Latin nepeta.
- IPA(key): /ˈkatnɪp/
catnip (countable and uncountable, plural catnips)
- Any of the about 250 species of flowering plant of the genus Nepeta, family Lamiaceae, certain of which are said to have medicinal qualities.
- Synonyms: catmint, catwort
- Nepeta cataria and Nepeta grandiflora (and perhaps other species), which are well-known for causing an apparently harmless pheromone-based intoxication among certain cats.