Shrubs, erect, 1-4 m; burl present; twigs minutely glandular-hairy. Leaves: petiole 6-12 mm; blade light green to weakly glaucous or glaucous, dull, elliptic-ovate, 3.5-5 × 2-3.5 cm, base rounded, margins entire, plane, surfaces smooth, glabrous . Inflorescences pan-icles, 4-10-branched; immature inflorescence pendent, axis 2-3 cm, 1+ mm diam., glabrous; bracts appressed, scalelike, deltate to awl-like, 2-4 mm, apex acute, surfaces glabrous. Pedicels 5-10 mm, glabrous. Flowers: corolla white, conic to urceolate; ovary glabrous. Fruits globose, 8-12 mm diam., glabrous. Stones connate into single sphere. 2n = 26. Flowering winter-early spring. Chaparral of granite uplands; of conservation concern; 500-700 m; Calif. Arctostaphylos rainbowensis is found in a coastal portion of the Peninsular Range in northern San Diego and adjacent Riverside counties.