Trees to more than 20 m tall; trunk to 1 m (or more) d.b.h.; bark reddish brown to light grayish brown, thin, flaking in long strips; crown ovoid-pyramidal when young, broadly rounded or irregular when old. Leaves 1-3 mm, apex bluntly pointed; facial leaves rhomboid, with a conspicuous, linear, glandular groove at center abaxially; lateral leaves overlapping facial
ones, boat-shaped, ridged, apex slightly incurved. Pollen cones yellowish green, ovoid, 2-3 mm. Seed cones when immature bluish green, subglobose, ca. 3 mm in diam., when ripe reddish brown, subovoid, 1.5-2(-2.5) × 1-1.8 cm; proximal 2 fertile cone scales 2-seeded, distal 2 fertile scales 1-seeded. Seeds grayish brown or purplish brown, ovoid or subellipsoid, 5-7 × 3-4 mm, slightly ridged. Pollination Mar-Apr, seed maturity Oct.
The China Plant Specialist Group (CPSG) considering only the occurrence in China of this species, has assessed it as Least Concern, while the Conifer Specialist Group had considered it Near Threatened. Given the statement on its distribution in the Flora of China (much wider than here) it is likely that this assessment by the CPSG has taken into account what are here understood as introduced (and sometimes naturalized) locations, such as in Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces. The original extent of occurrence of this species, before people planted them everywhere, is much smaller but difficult to establish. From what we know it is likely that mature trees in natural forests are quite rare. The situation in Russia is unknown. It is therefore most likely to be Near Threatened (close to qualifying as threatened under criterion B2ab(v)). An inventory of natural populations and mature trees in them is highly recommended, in China and elsewhere within its most likely natural range.
Recorded from China: S Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Nei Mongol [Inner Mongolia]; Korea; Russian Far East. This species is apparently quite widespread but the geographic and altitudinal range is confused by populations which may have been planted or have become naturalized.