Monoecious trees, rarely shrubs. Leaves alternate or whorls, needle-like and spreading. Cones with numerous spirally arranged scales. Male cones lateral, short-lived; sporophylls with 2 sporangia. Female cones terminal, persistent; scales mostly finally woody, each with 2 ovules on upper side; ovules facing inwards. Seeds woody. Embryo with many cotyledons.
Mostly Northern Hemisphere family of 10 genera and c. 250 species, none native to Australia.