Juniperus cedrus is a large shrub or tree growing to a height of 5–20 m (rarely 25 m). The leaves are evergreen, needle-like, in whorls of three, green to glaucous-green, 8–23 mm long and 1–2 mm broad, with a double white stomatal band (split by a green midrib) on the inner surface. It is usually dioecious, with separate male and female plants. The seed cones are berry-like, green ripening in 18 months to orange-red with a variable pink waxy coating; they are spherical, 8–15 mm diameter, and have six fused scales in two whorls of three; the three larger scales each with a single seed. The seeds are dispersed when birds eat the cones, digesting the fleshy scales and passing the hard seeds in their droppings. The male cones are yellow, 2–3 mm long, and fall soon after shedding their pollen in February–March.