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Dyschoriste linearis (Snake herb)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Dyschoriste linearis

Dyschoriste linearis (Torr. & A. Gray) Kuntze

Snake Herb, Polkadots, Narrowleaf Dyschoriste

Acanthaceae (Acanthus Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Several erect stems, 6-12 inches tall, grow from the root of this plant, the branches and stems are covered with stiff, coarse hairs. The leaves are opposite, 3/4-2 3/4 inches long, attached directly to the 4-sided stem. The 2-lipped flowers are 1/2-1 inch long and up to 1 inch across, lavender to purple, with purple stripes in the throat. They grow in the leaf axils on very short stems and are somewhat tucked in between the leaves, scattered here and there on the main stem.

Pale lavender to purple, two-lipped bell-shaped flowers occur in leaf axils in late spring and repeats in late summer with sufficient moisture.

In 2009 Wildflower Center volunteer Valerie Bugh discovered Phydanis bicolor (Bicolor Flea Beetle) adults feed on this species. It was the first reported observation of the beetle species' food host. (Reslit: 3185).


From the Image Gallery

35 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Oblanceolate
Leaf Venation: Pinnate
Leaf Pubescence: Puberulent
Leaf Margin: Ciliate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Leaf Base: Cuneate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall, sometimes taller.
Leaf: green
Flower: Flowers 27 mm long

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


Native Habitat: Found on rocky-grassy slopes, silty flats or above caprock in most of the western two thirds of Texas. Well-drained sand, loam, clay, limestone.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: a variety of sandy, silty, or rocky soils with good drainage
Conditions Comments: Erect, upright, coarsely hairy herb with multiple, mostly unbranched, square stems. Rigid leaves linear-oblong or narrowly spathulate with fringed edges. Pale lavender to purple, two-lipped bell-shaped flowers occur in leaf axils in late spring and repeats in late summer with sufficient moisture.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Deer Resistant: Minimal


Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Discovery Gardens - Dallas, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 1028 Collected May 10, 1995 in Bexar County by Mike Fox

1 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 328 - Wildflowers of Texas (2003) Ajilvsgi, Geyata.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Dyschoriste linearis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Dyschoriste linearis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Dyschoriste linearis


Record Modified: 2023-02-07
Research By: TWC Staff, TMH, JSC

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