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class matplotlib.spines.Spine(axes, spine_type, path, **kwargs)

Bases: matplotlib.patches.Patch

an axis spine – the line noting the data area boundaries

Spines are the lines connecting the axis tick marks and noting the boundaries of the data area. They can be placed at arbitrary positions. See function:set_position for more information.

The default position is ('outward',0).

Spines are subclasses of class:Patch, and inherit much of their behavior.

Spines draw a line, a circle, or an arc depending if function:set_patch_line, function:set_patch_circle, or function:set_patch_arc has been called. Line-like is the default.

  • axes : the Axes instance containing the spine
  • spine_type : a string specifying the spine type
  • path : the path instance used to draw the spine

Valid kwargs are:

Property Description
agg_filter a filter function, which takes a (m, n, 3) float array and a dpi value, and returns a (m, n, 3) array
alpha float or None
animated bool
antialiased or aa bool or None
capstyle [‘butt’ | ‘round’ | ‘projecting’]
clip_box a Bbox instance
clip_on bool
clip_path [(Path, Transform) | Patch | None]
color matplotlib color spec
contains a callable function
edgecolor or ec mpl color spec, None, ‘none’, or ‘auto’
facecolor or fc mpl color spec, or None for default, or ‘none’ for no color
figure a Figure instance
fill bool
gid an id string
hatch [‘/’ | ‘' | ‘|’ | ‘-‘ | ‘+’ | ‘x’ | ‘o’ | ‘O’ | ‘.’ | ‘*’]
joinstyle [‘miter’ | ‘round’ | ‘bevel’]
label object
linestyle or ls [‘solid’ | ‘dashed’, ‘dashdot’, ‘dotted’ | (offset, on-off-dash-seq) | '-' | '--' | '-.' | ':' | 'None' | ' ' | '']
linewidth or lw float or None for default
path_effects AbstractPathEffect
picker [None | bool | float | callable]
rasterized bool or None
sketch_params (scale: float, length: float, randomness: float)
snap bool or None
transform Transform
url a url string
visible bool
zorder float
classmethod arc_spine(axes, spine_type, center, radius, theta1, theta2, **kwargs)

(classmethod) Returns an arc Spine.

classmethod circular_spine(axes, center, radius, **kwargs)

(staticmethod) Returns a circular Spine.


Clear the current spine


Draw the Patch to the given renderer.


Get the bounds of the spine.


Return the Transform instance which takes patch coordinates to data coordinates.

For example, one may define a patch of a circle which represents a radius of 5 by providing coordinates for a unit circle, and a transform which scales the coordinates (the patch coordinate) by 5.


Return the path of this patch


get the spine position


get whether the spine has smart bounds


get the spine transform


return True if directly on axes frame

This is useful for determining if a spine is the edge of an old style MPL plot. If so, this function will return True.

classmethod linear_spine(axes, spine_type, **kwargs)

(staticmethod) Returns a linear Spine.


register an axis

An axis should be registered with its corresponding spine from the Axes instance. This allows the spine to clear any axis properties when needed.

set_bounds(low, high)

Set the bounds of the spine.


Set the edgecolor.

ACCEPTS: matplotlib color arg or sequence of rgba tuples

See also

set_facecolor(), set_edgecolor()
For setting the edge or face color individually.
set_patch_arc(center, radius, theta1, theta2)

set the spine to be arc-like

set_patch_circle(center, radius)

set the spine to be circular


set the spine to be linear


set the position of the spine

Spine position is specified by a 2 tuple of (position type, amount). The position types are:

  • ‘outward’ : place the spine out from the data area by the specified number of points. (Negative values specify placing the spine inward.)
  • ‘axes’ : place the spine at the specified Axes coordinate (from 0.0-1.0).
  • ‘data’ : place the spine at the specified data coordinate.

Additionally, shorthand notations define a special positions:

  • ‘center’ -> (‘axes’,0.5)
  • ‘zero’ -> (‘data’, 0.0)

set the spine and associated axis to have smart bounds