The entire Erica glandulosa plant is covered in gland-tipped hairs, apart from the flower corollas. This makes the plant clammy to the touch and sticky, so that it acquires a dusty appearance that persists especially near dirt roads and exposed soil. The shrub is erect and spreading with many strong branches where it grows well.
The leaves commonly grow in groups of four. They are green, thin and straight, with the edges rolled back (under).
The flower colour is pink to orange with pink lobes. Only the style is exserted. The perianths are tubular, long, curved and shiny with darker lines running along the length of each. The anthers (hidden within the tubes) are bent forward at the base and their filaments also have a twisted shape near the anther. It flowers from late autumn to spring.
The plant occurs in the Eastern Cape from Mossel Bay to Port Elizabeth on slopes and fynbos flats. E. glandulosa subsp. glandulosa and subsp. bondiae are not considered to be threatened in their habitats early in the twenty first century, but subsp. fourcadei is vulnerable while subsp. breviflora is endangered (Baker and Oliver, 1967; www.redlist.sanbi.org).