Distinguishing Features: Needle stem runs along the twig for a short distance, fleshy red berry with a hole at the end
- Type: Evergreen
- Form at maturity: 15 to 45 ft tall, irregular and often twisted shape
- Leaf: Evergreen needles, single, spirally arranged (although they appear 2-ranked), 1 inch long, yellow-green to dark green above and paler below; apex pointed but not sharp; each needle has a distinct petiole that lays against the twig for a short distance.
- Flower: Dioecious; male flowers are small, round, and yellow and are borne on the undersides of the leaves; female flowers are solitary
- Bark: Always thin (about 1/4 inch), reddish brown, and scaly; inner bark is reddish purple
- Fruit or Seed: A round, fleshy, orange-red aril about 1/4 inch long containing one hard seed, exposed at the end