Evergreen, conifer-like trees growing to 35 m tall. The foliage consists of slender, much-branched green to grey-green twigs bearing minute scale-leaves in whorls of 5–20. The flowers are produced in small catkin-like inflorescences; the male flowers in simple spikes, the female flowers on short peduncles. fruit is a conifer cone made up of numerous carpels each containing a single winged seed.
The tree's root nodules are known to fix nitrogen, and it is traditionally prized for its ability to increase the soil's fertility. Its abundant leaf-fall is high in nitrogen and traditionally prized for mulch. Is often planted to prevent erosion in sandy soils. Makes a good windbreak, and can withstand hurricane-force coastal winds. Hardy only to -3ºC.
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