Nepeta curviflora, Syrian Catnip,
Hebrew: נפית כפופה, Arabic: "za'tar chachla"

Scientific name:  Nepeta curviflora Boiss.
Common name:  Syrian Catnip
Hebrew name:  נפית כפופה
Arabic name:  "za'tar chachla"
Family:  Labiatae Lamiaceae, שפתניים

 Nepeta curviflora, Syrian Catnip, נפית כפופה

Life form:   Chamaephyte, semi-shrub
Stems:  Erect, square; 60-80 cm high
Leaves:  Opposite, entire, dentate or serrate
Inflorescence:  Verticillasters grouped on spikes
Flowers:  Tubular dark blue flowers
Fruits / pods:  Nutlets
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Habitat:  Batha, Phrygana
Distribution:  Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Montane vegetation of Mt. Hermon
Chorotype:   Mediterranean
Summer shedding:   Perenating

Native plants of Palestine


Derivation of the botanical name:
Nepeta, named in honor of the Etruscan city Nepeta, and is said to have been given because the plant was common round the town of Nepet; Nepeta (Ptol., Strab.) Nepet (Plin., Liv.) Nepe (Peut.).
curviflora, curvus, "crooked, curved, bent", florus, flor, floreo, "to bloom, to flower"; curved flower.
  • The standard author abbreviation Boiss. is used to indicate Pierre Edmond Boissier (1810 – 1885), a Swiss botanist, explorer and mathematician.
Catnip and catmints are mainly known for, and named after, the effects they have on cats. Approximately two thirds of cats are susceptible to the effects of catnip, as the phenomenon is hereditary.
Catnip contains nepetalactone, a terpene, that is thought to mimic feline sex pheromones. Cats detect it through their vomeronasal organs. When cats sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip, they will rub in it, roll over it, paw at it, chew it, lick it, leap about, then purr loudly, growl, and meow. This reaction only lasts for several minutes before the cat loses interest. It takes up to two hours for the cat to "reset" and then it can come back to the catnip and have the same response as before.