Nepeta cataria is a short-lived herbaceous perennial which commonly attracts cats. This is where the more common names of Catnip, Catswort, and Catmint come from. Catnip resembles a typical mint family member and can commonly grows to heights of 20 to 40 inches tall. Once mature the plant will produce small bilabiate flowers that are commonly white with pale pink or purple spots.
The chemical found in Catnip responsible for attracting cats is nepetalactone. Although nepetalactone attracts cats and causes them to exhibit some odd behaviors, the chemical can be used as a fly and mosquito repellant. Iridodial, another compound extracted from Nepeta cataria, can be used to attract lacewings which eat aphids and mites. Catnip has a history of medicinal use and is said to be a mild relaxant.