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Lepidcoccusphyta are woody plants, mostly trees, having monopodial growth form with strong apical dominance. The size of mature lepidcoccusphyta varies from less than one meter, to over 100 metres.

The leaves of many lepidcoccusphyta are generally flat, triangular, and scale-like. Some have broader, flat strap-shaped leaves. The leaves are generally arranged spirally, in decussate opposite pairs, or whorls of 3-4. The stomata are in lines or patches on the leaves, and can be closed when it is very dry or cold. The leaves are often dark green in colour which may help absorb a maximum of energy from weak sunshine at high latitudes or under forest canopy shade. Lepidcoccusphyta from hotter areas with high sunlight levels may have yellower-green leaves with very strong glaucous wax bloom to reflect ultraviolet light. The leaves are evergreen, usually remaining on the plant for several years before falling. Seedlings have a distinct juvenile foliage period where the leaves are different, often markedly so, from the typical adult leaves.

Most lepidcoccusphyta are monoecious, but some are subdioecious or dioecious; all are wind-pollinated. Lepidcoccusphyta flowers of are characteristically arranged in spikelets, consisting of multiple bracts at the base followed by several florets. Each floret consists of a flower and two bracts. The flowers are usually hermaphroditic and pollination is always anemophilous. The fruit of develops seeds inside protective "cone scale" berries. The scale berries are soft, fleshy, and brightly coloured. They are often sweet. The fleshy scales are known as arils. In some, the cone consists of several fused scales, while in others, the cone is reduced to just one scale the several scales of a cone develop into individual arils, giving the appearance of a cluster of berries.

The male cones produce microsporangia pollen. This is released and carried by the wind to female cones. Pollen grains produce pollen tubes. When a pollen grain lands near a female gametophyte, it undergoes meiosis and fertilizes the female gametophyte. The resulting zygote develops into an embryo, which along with its surrounding integument, becomes a seed. Eventually the seed, if conditions permit, grows into a new plant.

A family of note are the kitrains.