Nepeta cataria, catmint seeds
Nepeta cataria belongs to the family of the Laminaceae. It is native to Asia, Africa and South Europe. It is also known as catmint, because about 70% of the cats (female and male ones) go crazy when they smell N. cataria. It has also a pleasant odor for humans: It smells like citrus.
N. cataria is a perennial, herbaceous plant that reaches a height of about 60 to 100 cm. The shoot is typically for Laminaceae tetragonal and pubescent. The leaves stand opposite. They are heart shaped or ovate. The leaf edge is dentate. The leaves are grayish green and also pubescent.
The flower is white or slightly blue. It is zygomorphic consisting of an upper lip and a bottom lip. N. cataria is pollinated by bees and bumblebees that like the sweet nectar it produces. The flowers are hermaphrodites.
The fruits contain 4 seeds. The seeds are brown, round and 1,5 mm long and 1 mm wide. N. cataria has rarely to deal with pests because it produces a substance that is called Nepetalaceton. This Nepetalaceton functions as a repellent against insects. It can be isolated from N. cataria but if one puts it on the skin the effect is not that good.
N. cataria is also used in medicine. The tea that is made of the leaves helps against influenza. Furthermore N. cataria helps against chronically bronchitis and cramps. For the tea fresh leaves can be used or the dried version works as well.
The seeds of N. cataria should be only covered slightly with substrate. The substrate should not be rich in nutrients and a pH from more than 7 is not that good. At a temperature of about 20°C and constant moisture, germination occurs after 2 to 3 weeks. N. cataria likes it warm and should be placed in the full sun. N. cataria can tolerate dry periods