A tree up to 60 ft high in the wild; young shoots slightly downy at first, then smooth and purplish; winter buds somewhat resinous; bark of old trees rough and fissured. Leaves thickly set on the twig, 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 in. long, 1⁄16 to 1⁄12 in. wide; rounded or notched at the end which is the broadest part of the leaf, dark green above, white beneath with stomata except for the thin green midrib. Cones cylindric except for the slightly tapered apex, 2 to 3 in. long, 1 in. thick, bright violet-purple; scales 5⁄8 in. wide with little more than the deflexed, mucronate tips of the bracts visible; seeds with a purplish wing 1⁄4 in. wide. Bot. Mag., n.s., t. 40.
Native of S. Korea; first found by Père Faurie in 1907 on Quelpaert Island, where it is abundant at 3,000 ft and over; introduced to France in 1908 and thence to Kew in 1913; Wilson collected seed in 1917 and probably the plants now in cultivation are mostly of this provenance (W. 9486). It is by nature a small bushy tree of compact, pyramidal growth and produces its beautiful blue cones when only 3 ft or so high. It is rather slow-growing but quite hardy. There are specimens in the National Pinetum, Bedgebury, Kent, of 15 and 20 ft. The best recorded are: Borde Hill, Sussex, 33 × 2 ft (1961); Hergest Croft, Heref., pl. 1927, 32 × 3 ft (1961); and Wakehurst Place, Sussex, 26 × 2 ft (1964).