A large tree with a long, clear trunk and broad, open crown.
Leaves needles, from persistent sheaths at the base of the needles; needles in bundles of 2 (sometimes 3), 3–5 inches long, slender, flexible, not twisted, sharp-pointed, dark bluish-green.
Bark thick, reddish-brown to nearly black, broken into large, irregular, scaly plates.
Twigs stiff, stout, rough, brittle, green at first turning gray to reddish-brown with age, usually covered with a whitish coating.
"Flowers" (sheds pollen) March–April, with male and female cones found on the same tree; male cones in clusters at the tips of twigs, yellowish-brown to purple, ¾ inch long.
Fruits September–October, maturing the second year, persistent on the branches, a woody cone in clusters of 1–3, hanging, brown, 1½– 2½ inches long, narrowly egg-shaped; scales separating at maturity, tips with sharp, curved spines.