Shrubs, erect, 0.3-3 m; burl absent; twigs densely short soft-hairy to white-tomentose. Leaves: petiole 3-10 mm; blade whitish gray, dull, orbiculate-ovate, ovate, or elliptic, 2-5 × 1-3 cm, base rounded to cuneate, margins entire, plane, surfaces smooth, gray-canescent, gla-brescent. Inflorescences panicles, 1-3-branched, immature inflorescence pendent, (branches crowded, bell-shaped, ± obscured by bracts), axis 1-2 cm, 1+ mm diam., densely short soft-hairy to white-tomentose; bracts not appressed, (spreading), leaflike, wide-lanceolate, 6-20 mm, apex acute, surfaces canescent. Pedicels 5-9 mm, hairy, sometimes glandular. Flowers: corolla white to pink, conic to urceolate; ovary densely white-hairy, sometimes glandular. Fruits depressed-globose, 5-10 mm diam., sparsely hairy or glabrous, sometimes sparsely glandular. Stones distinct. Arctostaphylos canescens is widespread in the Coast Ranges of central and northern California and northward into southwestern Oregon.