A tree to about 20 m tall in the wild with flattened, ferny, 2-ranked foliage sprays. Juvenile leaves with pairs of markedly different sizes. Adult lateral leaves about 3-5 mm long, facial leaves about 1-2 mm long. Mature cones ovoid about 1.5-3 cm long with each of the 4 scales having a curved point. Seeds 2, one per fertile scale.
Grows naturally in subalpine forests. L. bidwillii Hook.f., Pahautea, is from montane and sub-alpine areas of New Zealand and not suited to cultivation in warm parts of Australia: it is smaller in habit with mature branchlets that are not flattened, the facial and lateral leaf pairs almost identical and cones less than 1 cm long.
SA: Mt Lofty (Bot. Gds). NSW: Mt Tomah (Bot. Gds); Mt Wilson ('Lindfield Park'). VIC: Maryborough (Bot. Gds); Mt Macedon ('Alton'); Melbourne (Royal Bot. Gds, top of Princes Lawn opposite perennial border, male, and in New Zealand Bed opposite Queensland bed); Elsternwick (Ripponlea).
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.