Male flowers yellow, globular. Tiny female flowers followed by green seed surrounded by fleshy red aril. Seeds freely. Leaves dark green, flat, linear. Bark reddish-brown, peeling. Long-lived, eventual height to 25m. The leaves and seeds are poisonous.
Rare as native, woods, lake islands and rocky ground in north and west of Ireland. Widely planted in churchyards, parks, large gardens. Prefers well-drained calcareous soils but can occur over acidic rock.