(Nutt. ex Hook.) A.Heller
It grows in many types of forest and shrubland habitats, and plant communities. For example, it is characteristic of and sometimes dominant in the understory of Douglas-fir, Ponderosa pine, and Arizona pine forests and oak woodlands. It grows from 3,000–11,900 feet (910–3,630 m) in elevation, depending on latitude and climate. 
In Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Idaho it occurs in the Rocky Mountains. It has been called "nearly ubiquitous" in many plant communities in Utah. In Arizona it occurs in the mountain wilderness of the Madrean Sky Islands such as the Chiricahua Mountains, sometimes in scree with Douglas-fir, and is a common plant in the Grand Canyon. In Nevada it is a component of quaking aspen and willow communities and sagebrush of the Great Basin region. In Mexico it is native to the states of Chihuahua and Baja California.  It is also native to northern California and Texas. 
The shrub tolerates a variety of soil types, as well as bare rock and rock fragments, such as crevices in cliffs and scree. It is drought-tolerant and survives in dry habitat, but it thrives in more moist locations, and can be found in wetter environments than its relative, Holodiscus discolor (creambush oceanspray). It can be found in cool, moist mountain forests in the central part of its range. It prefers sheltered locations that have less direct sunlight and wind. It anchors easily on steep slopes, and can grow on vertical topography, such as cliffs.
Holodiscus dumosus is a deciduous spreading shrub, which grows from 1.6–20 feet (0.49–6.10 m) in height and 5–10 feet (1.5–3.0 m) in width.  The stems intricately branch from the root crown and spread outward. The branches have shreddy bark and the smaller reddish twigs may be slightly spiny. The aromatic leaves are up to 2.3 centimeters (0.91 in) long by 1.2 centimeters (0.47 in) wide. They are lobed or toothed.
- Holodiscus dumosus var. cedrorus — endemic to serpentine soils in The Cedars area of Sonoma County, California.  
- Holodiscus dumosus var. dumosus — native to Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah. 
- Holodiscus dumosus var. glabrescens — currently reclassified as Holodiscus discolor var. glabrescens.  
- ARS Germplasm Resources Information Network−GRIN, Global Web v 184.108.40.206: Taxonomy of Holodiscus dumosus, with distribution data.
- Fryer, Janet L. 2010. U.S. Forest Service, Fire Effects Information System: Holodiscus dumosus, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory [Online].
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Information Network−NPIN: Holodiscus dumosus (Bush rockspirea)
- Holodiscus dumosus. USDA International Institute for Tropical Forestry.
- Jstor.org: "A New Variety of HOLODISCUS DUMOSUS from Coastal Northwestern CALIFORNIA"; by Roger Raiche and James L. Reveal; Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas; Vol. 5, No. 1 (5 AUGUST 2011), pp. 25-32.
- California Flora Nursery Database: Holodiscus dumosus var. cedrorus
- GRIN-Global Web v 220.127.116.11: Holodiscus dumosus var. dumosus
- ITIS: Holodiscus dumosus var. glabrescens (Greenm.) C.L. Hitchc.
- Jepson eFlora: Holodiscus discolor var. glabrescens (formerly Holodiscus discolor var. glabrescens).
- University of Michigan at Dearborn: Native American Ethnobotany of Holodiscus dumosus
- National Gardening Association: Bush rockspirea (Holodiscus dumosus)