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collage of Lemon Balm and Catnip

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) vs. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Updated December 17th, 2020

These two non-native aromatic perennials, both commonly grown in gardens, are frequently confused visually due to similar leaf shape and serrations and growth habit. They are easy to tell apart by their aroma, differences in pubescence, leaf shape, bloom arrangement, and their effect on most cats. Lemon balm has a lemony aroma, and prefers moister habitats whereas catnip is found in drier habitats.

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