Shrubs or trees, erect, 2-8 m; burl absent or prominent, globose; twigs glabrous, sparsely short-hairy, or glandular-hairy. Leaves: petiole 6-12 mm; blade bright green or glaucous, shiny or dull, widely ovate or oblong-ovate to obovate, 2-5 × 1-3.5 cm, base rounded to ± cuneate, margins entire, plane, surfaces smooth or scabrous, puberulent or veins finely hairy . Inflorescences panicles, 3-7-branched; immature inflorescence ± abruptly deflexed, branches spreading, axis 1.5-4.5 cm, 1+ mm diam., glabrous, sparsely short-hairy, or sparsely glandular-hairy, not viscid; bracts not fully appressed, scalelike, deltate, 2-4 mm, apex mucronate or acuminate, surfaces glabrous or sparsely hairy to finely glandular-hairy. Pedicels 3-8 mm, glabrous. Flowers: corolla white, conic to urceolate; ovary glabrous or minutely stipitate glandular-hairy. Fruits depressed-globose, 8-12 mm diam., hairy or glabrous, stipitate-glandular or smooth. Stones distinct, sometimes connate. Arctostaphylos manzanita is usually found in northern California in oak woodlands, chaparral, and open conifer forests. Subspecies manzanita is widespread throughout the Sierra Nevada foothills, north through the Cascades, and at lower elevations in the North Coast Ranges. The other subspecies are generally narrowly distributed.