Microbiota decussata is a prostrate shrub to 20–50 centimetres (0.66–1.64 ft) in height, and 2–5 metres (6.6–16.4 ft) in spreading width. The foliage forms in flat sprays with scale-like leaves 2–4 mm long. The cones are among the smallest of any conifer, 2–3 mm long, green ripening brown in about 8 months from pollination, and have 4 scales arranged in two opposite pairs. The seeds are 2 mm long, with no wing; there is usually only one seed in each cone, rarely two.
Microbiota decussata is grown as an ornamental plant for use as evergreen groundcover in gardens and parks. It is valued for its drought tolerance and considerable cold temperature and winter season conditions tolerance. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
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