Fast-growing conifer that can reach a height of 100 m in its natural habitat but which remains smaller when cultivated. At first, the crown is broadly pyramidal with an ascending, vertical trunk, but later it becomes oval. The top branches grow vertically: the lower branches hang down. The bark is corky and has deep grooves. Young twigs are yellowish green to yellowish grey and have fine hairs. The top of the protruding needles is dark glossy green: underneath they have 2 white stripes. When rubbed they give off a very fresh smell. Reddish brown, hanging cones are 3 – 3.5 cm thick and up to 10 cm long. The tree is not very demanding when it comes to soil and even grows on poor, dry, sandy soil. It can even survive lengthy periods of drought. The tree is an important supplier of timber. The oldest known specimens are between 500 and 700 years old.