Description from Flora of China
Trees to 20 m tall; trunk to 0.5 m d.b.h. in native range; bark gray-brown, with irregular, scaly, plated ridges, reddish and scaly toward apex of trunk; crown irregularly rounded or flattened; branchlets red or purple tinged, often glaucous, aging red-brown or gray, slender, rough; winter buds red-brown, ovoid or cylindric, resinous or not, scales white fringed at margin. Needles 2 per bundle, deep to pale yellow-green, strongly twisted, 2-8 cm × 1-1.5 mm, stomatal lines present on all surfaces, inconspicuous, base with persistent sheath 4-10 mm, margin serrulate. Seed cones subsessile or shortly pedunculate (peduncle to 1 cm), dull red-brown, ovoid when open, symmetric, 3-7(-8) cm, maturing in 2 years, then soon shedding seeds. Seed scales with strong purple-red or purple-brown border adaxially distally, rigid; apophyses slightly elongated and thickened; umbo low pyramidal, with a slender, stiff prickle. Seeds pale brown, mottled darker, compressed obovoid, 4-7 mm, apex oblique; wing to 2 cm, narrow.
Cultivated. Jiangsu (Nanjing Shi), Jiangxi (Lu Shan) [native to E United States]