The Pencil Pine is an evergreen, coniferous tree with a dense, thin pencil-like habit, sometimes becoming broader with age. It is highly valued for the ascending, spire-like effect it can bring into a restricted space, or a space where shade is not desired. The shape is reminiscent of an exclamation mark and is eye catching when used in a formal setting or to soften a building outline.
This cultivar can grow to a height of 15 – 18 m, even 35 m, and has a spread of approximately 1.5 m or more when mature. The tree has a moderate growth rate and does especially well in a Mediterranean climate. It grows best in well-drained, sandy loams with lots of sun. The Pencil Pine or Italian Pine has fine, dark green foliage and upright branches that does not require pruning. The cones are marble to golf sized and can stay on the tree for many years. The Pencil Pine is low maintenance and drought and heat tolerant, surviving harsh conditions easily. The tree is often used for screening/windbreak when planted in close proximity to each other. In South Africa it is not uncommon to see the trees utilised in cemeteries to screen the space from the road.