An erect branched annual ranging in height from 11" to 35" (0.3-0.9 meters). The plant has square stems with long lanceolate leaves, which have a sharp point at the outer end, widest in the center and narrow again where they join to the stem. Usually 2-5" long and ¾ - 1 1/2" wide. The leaves are arranged alternately on the stem. The plant begins as a dense clump of mid to dark green leaves but as they grow in height they branch producing multitudes of flowering stems and leaves appear to become sparser. The flowers themselves are small tubular at the base with three upright lobes at the top and a downward facing one at the front. The upright petals are usually spotted or striped with purple or rose. Each branch produces on a one or two blooms at once but flowers are produced in profusion from so many branches that there are always many blooms on each plant. Flowers are followed by long thin seed pods containing numerous yellow brown seeds. Under idea conditions this plant can reach the size and dimensions of a small shrub. The whole plant has a bitter taste due to the pungent chemical compounds and is therefore often known as "king of bitters".