Pinus brutia is a medium-size tree, reaching 20-35 metres (66-115 ft) tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1 metre (3.3 ft), exceptionally 2 metres (6.6 ft). The bark is orange-red, thick and deeply fissured at the base of the trunk, and thin and flaky in the upper crown. The leaves ('needles') are in pairs, slender, mostly 10-16 cm long, bright green to slightly yellowish green.
The cones are stout, heavy and hard, 6-11 cm long and 4-5 cm broad at the base when closed, green at first, ripening glossy red-brown when 24 months old. They open slowly over the next year or two to release the seeds, opening to 5-8 cm broad. The seeds are 7-8 mm long, with a 15-20 mm wing, and are mainly wind-dispersed.