Trees or shrubs evergreen, dioecious. Leaves usually dimorphic: juvenile leaves spreading, not 2-ranked, linear to needlelike or subulate, rarely falcately curved; adult leaves crowded, normally appressed, scalelike or subulate, 2-5 mm, hard, base decurrent apex often incurved. Pollen cones terminal or axillary, solitary, sessile; pollen 2-saccate. Seed-bearing structures terminal, usually solitary, small, composed of several bracts normally only 1 fertile; sterile bracts not fleshy (sometimes becoming fleshy and brightly colored at maturity); ovule 1, borne abaxially on middle part of fertile bract, initially partly inverted, becoming more erect at maturity. Epimatium only partly enveloping seed and less than 1/3 its length, forming a somewhat membranous, asymmetric, cupular sheath around its base. Seed maturing in 1st year, suberect or ± inclined.