A very unusual, small to medium sized conifer to about 9 m (30 ft.) tall that produces a rounded crown on a short trunk to 40 cm (16 in.) in diameter. Its true leaves are reduced to tiny scales while greatly modified, flattened, lobed shoots, called phylloclades, function and look like leaves. They are very aromatic. A native of New Zealand, it is found on both the North and South Islands. While in the north it is found at higher altitude, up to 1600 m (5200 ft.), sometimes very common in subalpine and scrub forest, in the cooler south it can reach down to sea level. It prefers cool climates without extremes of heat and is unharmed by moderate to severe freezes. It is also highly resistant to wind.