Trees dioecious. Bark brown to grayish brown, tinged with orange, fissured. Branches spreading to drooping; twigs nearly opposite. Leaves mostly appearing 2-ranked, rigid; stomates abaxial, in 2 narrow, glaucous, whitish or brownish bands; apex sharp-pointed, spine-tipped, sharp to touch; resin canal central. Pollen cones ovoid or oblong, with 6--8 whorls of 4 sporophylls, each bearing 4 sporangia. Ovules 2, only 1 of each pair maturing. Seed maturing in 2 years; aril green or green with purple streaks, resinous, leathery, thin, completely enclosing woody seed coat, splitting into 2 parts at maturity; albumen ruminate. x = 11. Two Asian species are planted as ornamentals in North America: Torreya nucifera Siebold & Zuccarini (kaya-nut, Japanese torreya), which yields edible seeds and cooking oil, and T . grandis Fortune (Chinese torreya).