Monoecious tree to 50m tall (sometimes bifurcating), to 1m d.b.h. at maturity; trunk straight or curved. Crown In mature trees columnar but open, branched along the greater part of the trunk, apex rounded or truncated, often wider than the lower crown. Bark on trunks of mature trees to 3cm thick, exfoliating in horizontal strips, forming horizontal bands or ridges; inner bark dark reddish brown; outer bark grey or brown.
Adult leaves broadly ovate, 2.5–4.7 × 1.5–2.5mm, 3-edged and incurved with acute or obtuse apex, leathery and smooth, prominently keeled beneath. Stomata on adult leaves, on the underside restricted to the proximal part of the leaf in depressions either side of the keel; on upper surface the stomata are numerous in rows from just above the base to the apex.
Male pollen-cones 35–45 × 8.5–10mm, terminal, initially erect but pendulous when shedding pollen, light brown with glaucous bloom, cylindrical, confined to higher parts of tree on primary branches. Female seed-cones 8–10 × 6.5–8cm, terminal on short, usually solitary, sometimes 2–3 together, erect, green when mature, subglobose. Bracts 25–30 × 20–25mm including rounded, thin membranous wings, ending in a caudate, slightly curved, 6–8mm long bract tip.
A. bernieri var. pumilio Silba was described in 2000 based on specimens collected from the Tiebaghi massif in the northern part of New Caledonia. These specimens have since been redetermined as Araucaria scopulorum. Other specimens from Poum and Tiebaghi that are cited in the Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et dépendances (de Laubenfels, 1972) have also been re-identified as Araucaria scopulorum.