A narrow-columnar to widespreading tree growing to about 15 m tall in cultivation. Bark rough and fibrous. Branchlets divided 3 times and square in section at the tips. Leaves mostly dark green, pointed, with the tips incurved, often with white resin glands on young trees, strongly lemon-scented when crushed. Male cones 2-3 mm long, first appearing Sept.-Oct. Cones waxy grey at first becoming shining brown, 1-1.5 cm wide; scales 6-10. Seeds warty, dark brown to almost black.
Extremely rare in the wild; restricted to two small groves a few kilometres inland from the equally rare coastal populations of C. macrocarpa near Monterey, California. C. goveniana var. pigmaea Lemmon (C. pigmaea (Lemmon) Sargent) has black seeds, more pointed leaves and blackish green foliage may be seen occasionally in old gardens. Relatively rare in cultivation in Australia.
Foliage in short, thin-twigged sprays that are lemon-scented when crushed (like young foliage of C. macrocarpa); cones small (unlike those of C. macrocarpa), pale grey at first (but never so white as C. lusitanica) soon markedly shiny; seed dark brown to black.
ACT: Yarralumla (Government House front entrance ptd c. 1920); Prime Minister's Lodge (overtopping wall, National Circuit); Westbourne Woods. VIC: Geelong (Eastern Park, 1 mature tree). TAS: Hobart (Royal Tasmanian Bot. Gds).
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.