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It is an evergreenconiferoustree growing to 30 m (100 ft) tall and 1 m (3 ft) in trunk diameter with a narrowly conical crown of horizontal spreading branches. The bark is scaly and gray-brown with resin blisters. The leaves ("needles") are flattened, 2-4 cm (3⁄4-1+1⁄2 in) long and 1.5-2.5 mm (1⁄16-3⁄32 in) thick, spread at right angles from the shoot, and end in a point.
They spread on two sides, but not flat like for example in silver fir. Usually they more or less rise up forming with the shoot a V-shape empty compartment above it. Unlike in silver fir, the leaves here are sharp and prickly, without any indentation at the top.
They are bright green above and whitish-green below with 2 whitish strips, each of which is formed by 7–10 wax-covered stomatal bands. The shoots are glabrous, shiny yellow-gray when young and turning gray-brown. The cones are 12-14 cm (4+3⁄4-5+1⁄2 in) long by 4-5 cm (1+1⁄2-2 in) wide, yellow-brown, and slightly tapering with a bluntly rounded apex. The scale bracts are hidden under the cone scales. The seeds, 8-9 mm (5⁄16-3⁄8 in) long with a wedge-shaped wing 1.5 cm (5⁄8 in) long, are released after the cones disintegrate at maturity in October.