It is a resident of chaparral canyons, foothills, and lower-elevation mountains. One specialized habitat in which A. tomentosa is found is the Monterey Cypress forests at Point Lobos and Del Monte Forest in Monterey County, California.Arctostaphylos tomentosa is a species of manzanita known by the common name woollyleaf manzanita or woolley manzanita. This shrub is endemic to California.
This is a low-lying, spreading manzanita, generally quite a bit wider than it is tall. It is a variable species and even some of the subspecies can vary in appearance across individuals. The stems may be red or gray or both, with smooth, rough, or shreddy bark, hairless to quite bristly. The leaves may be oval to lance-shaped and sometimes toothed, but the upper surface is generally darker and shinier than the lower.
The flowers are white to pink and may be hairy or hairless inside. The fruits are fuzzy reddish drupes under a centimeter in diameter.
There are many subspecies: