Lamiaceae, mint family including: agastache, dead-nettle, nepetas

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I was confused recently identifying a seedling whether it was nepeta cataria or dead-nettle and I realised these plants (and a few others related) - at least in the early stages - were so similar it was worth having a closer look. This is a very personal selection as I have all these plants in my garden (except one which I see nearby) - and they are plants I (and the bees) really like. Not so easy to differentiate the very small plants, it made me think, what actually makes them different. In alphabetical order:

Anise hyssop Agastache anisata, I grew from seed

Catnip, Nepeta cataria, I grow from seed. (I have never seen plants for sale).

Dead-nettle Laminum purpureum, self-seeds a lot in my garden

Lemon balm Melissa officinalis, I see it in a front garden nearby

Lesser CalamintCalamintha nepeta / syn. Clinopodium nepeta I grew from seed

Nepeta, Garden catmint Nepeta faassenii

 

Anise hyssop (Agastache anisata)

Luckily this one is easy for me to identify in my garden because of the anise smell which I don't have from any other plants. Also the colour in the centre of the seedling, at the base of the leaves is distinctive of all the Lamiaceae's I have in the garden.

agastache anisata

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

nepeta cataria catnip

catnip nepeta cataria

close-up of the catnip flowers

catnip nepeta cataria

Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum)

I have just been calling this dead-nettle but it needs a proper name. Appears to be red dead-nettle which I think has some variation in leaf colour, not always very purple. Most of my deadnettle plants don't have purple leaves but the odd one did and the ones I often see locally do have purple on the leaves. It's August and not the best time for dead-nettles but as I'm doing the comparison now, I'm taking photos of what I have right now in the garden (8-8-2018).

dead-nettle

dead-nettle

but looking back at some of my older photos, I see quite a large well-developed dead-nettle

dead-nettle

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

lemon balm

The buds are yellow. When the flower open the lower part is white and the upper part is yellow.

lemon balm

lemon balm flower

Nepeta faassenii

nepeta fassennii

nepeta fassennii

Lesser Calamint (Calamintha nepeta)

lesser calamint

entire pot of plants

lesser calamint

close-ups of some of the lesser calamint flowers

lesser calamint

lesser calamint

Flowers: all similar Lamiaceae-type flowers
Agastache anisata, pink/purple Catnip, white Dead-nettle, pink Lemon Balm, white (and yellow)
agastach anisata nepeta cataria flower dead-nettle flower lemon balm flower
Lesser Calamint, very light purple Nepeta, light purple    
lesser calamint nepeta fassennii flowers    
   
Flowers: arrangement of the flowers
clusters at the top of  the flowering stems under leaves small clusters of flowers on the stem single flowers and small clusters of flowers on the stem
       
       
Stems: all square
upright sprawling at times upright upright
       
Leaves      
fewer veins more veins    
catnip dead-nettle lesser calamint nepeta faassenii

lamiaceae leaf comparison
agastache lemon balm    
       
       
Seedlings      
       

Comparison of Dead-nettle and Nepeta cataria

the dead-nettle on the right is easy to identify at this stage because of the pink flowers

dead-nettle nepeta

the dead-nettle (sprawling) is in the square pot above, nepeta (upright) is in the round pots below

dead-nettle nepeta

dead-nettle nepeta comparison