Syncolostemon canescens is an aromatic shrub, woody only at the base where it branches. It grows to 60 cm. The large distribution of this plant ranges from the northern parts of South Africa over most of the neighbouring countries of southern Africa.
The leaves are opposite, ovate-lanceolate, up to 5 cm long, often densely hairy with margins that are variably toothed. The inflorescence may be branched, producing spaced pairs of flowers. The corolla may be white, pink, lilac or violet. The tube is 1,2 cm long with stamens exserted over the lower lip.
The species was moved with the rest of the genus Hemizygia into Syncolostemon, represented in South Africa by about 40 species. The meaning of the name: syn means united, kolos means stunted and stemon means stamen (all from Greek), referring to the joined lower stamens (Manning, 2009; www.zimbabweflora.co.zw).