Monoecious, often gnarled tree to 10(-20 m). Adult leaves scale-like, ovate, adpressed. Female cones with rough valves, tubercled on margins.
Tree normally 5-7 m high, occassionally attaining a height of about 20 m with stem diameter up to 2 m; crown pyramidal when young, spreading with age; bark on young trees reddish grey, thin, fibrous, flaking off annually. Leaves of two types; juvenile leaves on seedlings and young trees needle-like, spreading, 1-2 cm long and up to 2 mm broad; adult leaves scale-like, appressed, ovate, 2-4 mm long, usually strictly decussate, semicircular in transverse section, adnate at the base, free portion often much shorter than adnate portion. Male cones 2 mm long, mostly on short lateral branchlets; scales usually 6 pairs, decussate, coriaceous, peltate, broadly ovate, acuminate, with 4 pollen sacs at the base of each scale. Mature female cones sub-globose, about 2-5 cm in diameter, usually consisting of 4(rarely 5 or 6) woody valves; valves rough, with regular tubercles along the margin. Seeds ovoid, obscurely winged, trigonous; seed scar about 4.5 x 6 mm. Cotyledonary leaves (after germination) about 35 mm long and about 5 mm broad.