Thursday, February 4, 2010

Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Nepeta cataria
Before tea arrived in Europe from India and China, the brew of choice was made from this plant. Today it is mainly grown by cat lovers who like to give their pets the opportunity to enjoy a wide a diet as possible while providing some additional stimulation from the chemicals contained in the plant leaves.There is nothing like a contented pet in the household. Though this short lived perennial is not a particularly attractive plant it does bring many beneficial insects to the garden warranting its inclusion on the fringes of say a vegetable garden. Butterflies and bumble bees love the flowers during the heady days of high summer. I like the big blue striped bumble bees which make such a lot of noise as they forage around amongst the flowers...sadly not a common sight these days.The plant does produce a large quantity of seed which will come up in all sorts of unexpected places but these are fairly easily removed. Leaves can be dried if you like to make those muslin filled bags for cats who like to play football as one of their leisure activities.

Sammy, who likes schmoozing and listening to old records by Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks
2017 update: RIP Sammy

Die Echte Katzenminze
Deutschlands Flora in Abbildugen
Jacob Sturm, 1796

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