Description from Flora of China
Trees evergreen, dioecious (occasionally monoecious); branches whorled; branchlets subopposite or subwhorled, base with bud scales not persistent; winter buds with several pairs of decussate bud scales. Leaves decussate or subopposite, 2-ranked, linear or linear-lanceolate, basally twisted, leathery, adaxial surface slightly convex with midvein ± indistinct, abaxial surface with 2 stomatal bands, resin canal present on abaxial side of vascular bundle, base decurrent, apex sharply acuminate. Pollen cones axillary, solitary, shortly pedunculate, ellipsoid or shortly columnar; microsporophylls in 4-8 whorls each of 4 microsporophylls; pollen sacs (3 or)4, marginal, pendulous. Seed-bearing structures borne in pairs in leaf axils, sessile, each with 2 pairs of decussate bracts and 1 lateral bract; ovule 1, erect. Aril succulent, base of aril with persistent bracts. Seed ripening in autumn of 2nd year, drupelike, completely enclosed within aril; female gametophyte tissue ruminate or not. Cotyledons 2. Germination hypogeal. 2n = 22.
Six species: China, Japan; SE and W United States; four species (three endemic, one introduced) in China.