Monoecious evergreen tree to 20m, but often much smaller, trunk to 1.5m in diameter. Bark flaking, brown, becoming fibrous and fissured, exfoliating in long strips, weathering grey-brown. Branches spreading, rising at ends, forming a narrowly conical to pyramidal tree when young, maturing to a broad rounded crown.
Leaves 2.5–6 x 1–2.2mm, regularly arranged in decussate pairs, incurved, triangular and keeled on the back, stomata on inner face, without stomatal bands on reverse.
Male pollen-cones 5–10 x 2–2.5mm, solitary, terminal, yellowish-green maturing yellowish-brown. Female seed-cones 8–12 x 4–6mm, valvate, ovoid, with two pairs of opposite scales, maturing October–December. Seeds 3–4 per cone, 3 x 1.5–2mm, pale yellowish brown, wings 2, of unequal size, maturing from December to March.
Pilgerodendron uviferum could be confused with Fitzroya cupressoides. In Fitzroya the leaves are usually arranged in alternating whorls and are of two types: scale-like and strongly keeled on mature branches, falcate and flattened on immature branches. All leaves have two obvious white stomatal bands on the underside. In Pilgerodendron the leaves are regularly arranged in decussate pairs, incurved, triangular and keeled on the back.
The timber of Pilgerodendron is decay resistant and has been heavily exploited for building and construction. In rural areas it is frequently used for bridges, poles, fencing, boats and furniture.