Strobilanthes alternata is an herb that grows near 30 cm (12 in) long. The stems of the plant are prostrate and purplish, especially at the nodes. The leaves are hairy and opposite, and one leaf of a pair is much larger than the other. The leaf blades are a dark green on the top face and are a lighter green or purplish on the lower face. The flowers of the plant grow from where the leaf meets the stem, and are white with purple penciling.