A narrow, conical tree growing to about 30 m tall, broadening with age. Trunk tapering. Bark red-brown, deeply-furrowed. Leaves aromatic, extending well down the stem in 4's, the side pair ridged and long-pointed, length variable but about 1 cm or so on the main shoots, tips spreading. Male cones cylindrical, about 5 mm long, slightly wider than the branchlets. Female cones pendulous, about 2 cm long, fleshy when young, lower scales bent back, Jan.-Feb. Seeds 8-12 mm long, 1-2 per scale, wing short on one side.
Grows naturally on coastal ranges and foothills of inland mountains alt. about 1700-2300 m in mixed evergreen and coniferous forest, sometimes in very dry areas. Not widely cultivated but will tolerate cool conditions and grows well in Canberra.
NSW: Batlow (Pilot Hill Arboretum near Laurel Hill - massive tree); Mittagong (Uniting Church, Albert St); Mt Wilson ('Cherry Cottage' ptd c. 1887); Orange (Cook Park); Ournie (Jephcott Arboretum ptd c. 1870). ACT: Kingston (Tench St); Parkes (King George Terrace ptd c. 1927); Woden (Cemetery, avenue ptd c. 1920); Yarralumla (Nsy to rear, ptd c. 1920). VIC: Beechworth (Queen Victoria Park); Creswick (Forestry School, 2 trees, one massive trunked but in poor condition); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, Princes Lawn opposite perennial border). TAS: Hobart (Tasmanian Royal Bot. Gds); Lalla (W.A.G. Walker Arboretum); Launceston (City Park); Plenty (Salmon Ponds).
International Dendrological Society. Australian Newsletter 5 (winter 1992).
Source: (1995). Cupressaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.
Yellow variegated. Old German cultivar.
Foliage golden yellow. Rare in nurseries. Seed of c. decurrens was imported from England in 1960 by Claude Crowe of Berrima Bridge Nursery, Berrima, New South Wales. One seedling developed a gold form and a specimen was subsequently sent by Mr Crowe to Mr &Mrs Ansell at 'Pirianda' in the Dandenongs, Victoria. Specimens were then introduced from 'Pirianda' to the nursery trade. Scions were also sent to Hilliers Nursery in England in 1976 and there marketed as 'Berrima Gold'. The original tree remains at Berrima Bridge Nursery (1992).
Dwarf, columnar, with intricate branching system; branchlets closely packed, twisted, bronze in winter. Raised from seed by r. Noble, San Francisco, California, 1938.