Description from Flora of China
Trees or shrubs evergreen, monoecious or dioecious; bark thin, exfoliating in long strips; branchlets not arranged in a plane, terete or 3-, 4-, or 6-angled in cross section. Leaves decussate or in whorls of 3, decurrent or non-decurrent; juvenile leaves always needlelike; adult leaves scalelike or needlelike, usually not dimorphic along branchlets but sometimes different on juvenile and adult branchlets, with 1 or 2 pale stomatal bands adaxially, or in addition a few stomata near base abaxially. Pollen cones yellow, ovoid or oblong; microsporophylls 6-16, each with 2-8 pollen sacs. Seed cones terminal or axillary, berrylike, globose or ovoid, indehiscent or slightly dehiscent when mature in (1st or)2nd(or 3rd) year; cone scales connate or fused, succulent; each fertile scale bearing 1-3 seeds; free bract apex a small point. Seeds 1-6(-10) per cone, wingless, usually with resin pits. Cotyledons 2-6.
About 60 species: N hemisphere; 23 species (ten endemic, two introduced) in China.