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Catnip was familiar to American colonists as a medicinal plant, used in baths or tea, or applied directly to the skin. Although Eurasian in origin, Catnip naturalized quickly, and was reported escaped in New England in 1670, and in Virginia by 1739. Seeds for this perennial were available from many American seedsmen by 1820.
The soft, gray, heart-shaped foliage of this hardy, herbaceous perennial is strongly aromatic and attractive to cats. Catnip produces small white flowers in midsummer, and grows to two feet with a similar spread.