Lepidothamnus comprises one species in sub-Antarctic Chile (L. fonkii) and two in New Zealand (L. intermedius, L. laxifolius). They are dioecious or monoecious trees, shrubs or creepers. The juvenile leaves are narrow, linear and spreading, and give way gradually to the adult leaves, which are subulate to scale-like, decurrent, appressed and strongly keeled. The male strobili are solitary, sessile, terminal or axillary. The female cones are solitary, terminal, with three to five scales, of which only one or two are fertile. Each fertile scale bears a single, upright ovule, which at maturity is enclosed in a membranous epimatium to one-quarter of its length; the whole structure often subtended by a pink or red fleshy receptacle (Quinn 1982).
Only L. laxifolius is at all well known in cultivation, and then only to specialists or collectors of curiosities: it is said to be the smallest conifer in the world. All seem to require cool, wet places in acidic soil to thrive. Propagation is by seed or cuttings.