Justicia petiolaris is a perennial that grows to 1 m in height.
The species distribution is in the north-east of South Africa, including the coastal areas and further north beyond the border into tropical Africa.
The habitat is woodland and forest margins, often in semi-shade. The three recognised subspecies of J. petiolaris are all considered still to be free of threat in their habitat early in the twenty first century.
Some of the justicias are used in traditional medicine (Manning, 2009; www.plantzafrica.com; http://redlist.sanbi.org).