Justicia odora is a shrub or perennial herb up to 1 m. The leaves are ovate and glabrous except for a few hairs on the midrib and margins. The flowers, in small clusters in the axils of the leaves, are bright yellow, veined at times, with a red or purple inside tube. It has a very long flowering season. Justicia odora is a medium fast perennial and will reach maturity in a year's time. The roots are very aromatic.
Justicia odora tolerates light frost and is able to withstand very dry conditions.