Trees evergreen, monoecious; trunk straight; bark reddish brown to dark gray, fibrous, peeling off into long shreds; crown pyramidal or ovoid; branches ± whorled, horizontal or erect-spreading; winter buds small. Leaves persisting 4 or 5 years, spirally 5-ranked, spreading or directed forward, subulate, straight or incurved at apex, adaxial and abaxial surfaces convex, lateral surfaces slightly flattened, keeled, stomatal bands present on all 4 surfaces, base decurrent, apex acute. Pollen cones axillary toward apex of 2nd year branchlets, usually crowded into a short, terminal, sessile, oblong raceme, plum red turning yellow when mature; microsporophylls many, spirally arranged; pollen sacs (3 or)4 or 5(or 6). Seed cones terminal, solitary or occasionally aggregated, nodding, sessile, ± globose, rosettelike and resembling opening buds, ripening in 1st year, persisting 1-2 years longer with branchlet growth often temporarily continuing through cone; bracts and cone scales connate; bracts borne on middle or proximal middle part of abaxial surface of cone scales, triangular, small; ovules 2-5 per bract axil; cone scales persistent, shield-shaped, cuneate, thickened distally, woody, umbo with a central spine and 4 or 5(-7) toothlike projections on distal margin; apical scales small and sterile. Seeds irregularly compressed-ellipsoid or -triangular-ellipsoid, very narrowly winged. Cotyledons (2 or)3(or 4). Germination epigeal. 2n = 22*.