A shrub to about 6 ft high in the wild, with a dark purplish, peeling bark; branchlets bristly and tomentose. Leaves bright green, of brittle texture, almost glabrous, ovate to oblong, up to 13⁄4 in. long, without stomata on the upper surface; petiole about 1⁄4 in. long, hairy. Flowers pink or white, opening in early spring, about 1⁄4 in. long, borne in a panicle; peduncles and pedicels bristly and hairy; bracts leafy, as long as or longer than the pedicels. Fruits flattened globose, dark red, about 3⁄8 in. wide.
Native of California from San Francisco to Santa Barbara Counties. The plants at Wakehurst Place, Sussex, belong to var. rosei (Eastw.) McMinn (A. rosei Eastw.), which differs in having the branchlets downy but not bristly and somewhat larger leaves, and is confined to one locality in San Francisco County. They were raised from seeds received from the University of California in 1967.