Tree to 30m tall, d.b.h. 1–1.5m; trunk straight but sometimes forked or twisted; crown narrowly conical in young trees and irregular in mature trees. Bark smooth and dark grey in young trees, rough and scaly in old trees. Branches, lower curved downwards, uppermost ascending, branchlets very rigid, reddish brown or greenish brown, vegetative buds ovoid–globose, 5–-6 x 4–4.5mm, greenish to purple-brown
Leaves spirally arranged all around shoot radially and perpendicularly from the shoot, those below bent backwards; 1–1.8cm, leathery, stiff, bluntly rounded (fully exposed); dull grey-green or blue-grey with two broad stomatal bands of grey-green or dull bluish white on each surface.
Female cones 9–14cm x 3–4cm, abruptly narrowed to apex, greenish purple when immature, ripening dark or light brown. Male cones crowded along underside of shoot, dark brown, opening cherry–red.
This is one of two varieties, the other being A. pinsapo var marocana (treated on a seperate page), which is native to north Morocco. The differencies between these two varieties is slight; in var. marocana the leaves are arranged around the shoot pectinately and not radially and perpendicularly from the shoot as in var. pinsapo. The female cones in the var. marocana are much larger, 10–18 x 3.5–5cm.
The timber has historically been locally used for house construction. The forests in the Sierra del Pinar were managed for timber production but there is no present-day use of the timber.