A vigorous, fast-growing tree in its youth, eventually forming a broadly pyramidal or conical tree. The needles are golden-yellow at first, turning yellow-green in summer, before ageing back to golden-yellow into winter, finally settling into a permanent green in their second year. The branches are horizontal but the tips pendulous as in the species. 4–6 x 2–3 m in ten years. It was descrbied from a tree growing in France in 1866 and was soon cultivated elsewhere, though it is generally regarded as not quite so hardy as the species. (Jacobson 1996; Auders & Spicer 2012).
Larry Hatch makes the point that it is best appreciated as a young plant because foliage on older branches gradually becomes typical dark green, but, of a mature specimen of considerable size at the entrance to the Gotelli collection at the US National Arboretum, he says ‘It is never bright yet it is never boring!’ (Hatch 2018–2020).