Erica diaphana is an erect shrub growing rigid, spreading branches to 1,8 m. Branch tips are initially soft and pale yellow, becoming woody as they develop a covering of coarse bark. Older branches are dark and leafless.
The species forms part of the Syringodea subgenus of Erica characterised by corolla tubes exceeding 8 mm in length and corolla lobes that are not star-like. Within this subgenus they are classified in the Evanthe section, a group comprising plants with terminal flowers mostly longer than 9 mm.
The species distribution is large, ranging from Swellendam in the west to Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape. The plants grow on flats as well as rocky slopes of the Langeberg, the Tsitsikamma and Langkloof mountains to high altitudes (www.plantzafrica.com; Baker and Oliver, 1967; Wikipedia).