Axes.stem(*args, linefmt=None, markerfmt=None, basefmt=None, bottom=0, label=None, use_line_collection=<deprecated parameter>, orientation='vertical', data=None)[source]#

Create a stem plot.

A stem plot draws lines perpendicular to a baseline at each location locs from the baseline to heads, and places a marker there. For vertical stem plots (the default), the locs are x positions, and the heads are y values. For horizontal stem plots, the locs are y positions, and the heads are x values.

Call signature:

stem([locs,] heads, linefmt=None, markerfmt=None, basefmt=None)

The locs-positions are optional. The formats may be provided either as positional or as keyword-arguments. Passing markerfmt and basefmt positionally is deprecated since Matplotlib 3.5.

locsarray-like, default: (0, 1, ..., len(heads) - 1)

For vertical stem plots, the x-positions of the stems. For horizontal stem plots, the y-positions of the stems.


For vertical stem plots, the y-values of the stem heads. For horizontal stem plots, the x-values of the stem heads.

linefmtstr, optional

A string defining the color and/or linestyle of the vertical lines:


Line Style


solid line


dashed line


dash-dot line


dotted line

Default: 'C0-', i.e. solid line with the first color of the color cycle.

Note: Markers specified through this parameter (e.g. 'x') will be silently ignored (unless using use_line_collection=False). Instead, markers should be specified using markerfmt.

markerfmtstr, optional

A string defining the color and/or shape of the markers at the stem heads. If the marker is not given, use the marker 'o', i.e. filled circles. If the color is not given, use the color from linefmt.

basefmtstr, default: 'C3-' ('C2-' in classic mode)

A format string defining the properties of the baseline.

orientationstr, default: 'vertical'

If 'vertical', will produce a plot with stems oriented vertically, otherwise the stems will be oriented horizontally.

bottomfloat, default: 0

The y/x-position of the baseline (depending on orientation).

labelstr, default: None

The label to use for the stems in legends.

use_line_collectionbool, default: True

Deprecated since 3.6

If True, store and plot the stem lines as a LineCollection instead of individual lines, which significantly increases performance. If False, defaults to the old behavior of using a list of Line2D objects.

dataindexable object, optional

If given, all parameters also accept a string s, which is interpreted as data[s] (unless this raises an exception).


The container may be treated like a tuple (markerline, stemlines, baseline)


See also

The MATLAB function stem which inspired this method.

Examples using matplotlib.axes.Axes.stem#

Legend Demo

Legend Demo

Legend Demo
3D stem

3D stem

3D stem
stem(x, y)

stem(x, y)

stem(x, y)