This native perennial plant is usually unbranched and 23½' tall. The central stem is ridged and rather hairy. The alternate leaves are up 6" long and 1½" across; they have a rough texture, a lanceolate shape, coarsely serrated margins, and a tendency to curl upward from their central veins. The lower leaves have short petioles, while the upper ones are smaller and sessile. The undersides of the leaves usually have fine hairs. The central stem terminates in a spike-like raceme of showy red flowers. This raceme is about ½1½' long. Each flower has a narrow tubular structure that is upright and terminates in greyish white reproductive organs; these organs nod downward. Beneath this are 2 narrow side lobes and a lower lip that is 3-lobed. The green calyx is divided into 5 linear lobes that spread outward. The flowers are held at an upward angle in relation to the stem; they are about 11½" long and ¾1" across. The blooming period occurs from late summer to early fall, and lasts about 11½ months. There is no floral scent. The small seeds can be carried aloft by the wind. The root system consists of a taproot.