Growth Form: Shrub, Tree; shrubby form; often short branches near the base; the crown is rounded to flattened-globose; the bark is gray to brown and ex-foliating in thin strips; Flower Color: Non-flowering species; cones only; dioecious; seed cones mature in 1 year, globose to ovoid, dark- or reddish-blue to purple or brownish blue, glaucous. Cones: Male and female cones on separate plants; pollen (male) cones located at branch tips, about 3 mm long, oblong, yellow-brown; seed (female) cones located at branch tips, 6-8 mm long, spheric to ovoid, fleshy and resinous, green with a waxy bloom when immature, and maturing reddish blue to brownish blue; seed cones maturing the same year they are produced. Seeds: Usually 1 per cone, 4-5 mm long, light brown.
Flowering Season: March to April; cones; Non-flowering gymnosperm
Comments/Ethnobotany: The berries were eaten raw or ground and baked into bread; dried berries are made into beads for jewelry; leaves were used medicinally; branches burned for purification; leaf ash added to corn to make posole or hominy; and the wood and bark are an important fuel source.