Snakeweed (Stachytarpheta spp.) is a clumping perennial shrub which grows up to 2 m high from a single white woody root-stock. The stems are tough and widely branched, with opposite, lance shaped leaves up to 10 cm long and attached to the stems by short stalks (petioles). Leaf margins are crenate to serrate. The flowers are formed along stiff spikes, up to 50 cm long and 0.5 cm wide. The distinctive shape of these spikes gives these weeds their name.

Each flower is about 0.5 cm wide and has 5 petals that fuse to form a tube at their base. Flowers bloom in rotation from the bottom of the spike upwards and wilt soon after being picked. Flower colour varies with the species and may be white to pale blue, light blue, dark blue to purple or pink. A pointed bract protects the point where the flower joins the spike. After flowering the spikes dry off and the seeds develop beneath the bracts. The seeds are dark brown to black and 4-6 mm long.