The common name "Khasi pine" is from the Khasi hills in India, and "Benguet pine" is from the landlocked province of Benguet in Luzon, Philippines, where it is the dominant species of the Luzon tropical pine forests. The Benguet pine is sometimes treated as a separate species, Pinus insularis; however, the current opinion is to treat these as conspecific with P. kesiya. The city of Baguio is nicknamed "The City of Pines", as it is noted for large stands of this tree.
Pinus kesiya is a tree reaching up to 30–35 m tall with a straight, cylindrical trunk. The bark is thick and dark brown, with deep longitudinal fissures. The branches are robust, red brown from the second year, the branchlets horizontal to drooping. The leaves are needle-like, dark green, usually 3 per fascicle, 15–20 cm long, the fascicle sheath 1–2 cm long and persistent. The cones are ovoid, 5–9 cm long, often curved downwards, sometimes slightly distorted; the scales of second-year cones are dense, the umbo a little convex, sometimes acutely spinous. The scales have transverse and longitudinal ridges across the middle of the scale surface. The seeds are winged, 6–7 mm long with a 1.5-2.5 cm wing. Pollination is in mid spring, with the cones maturing 18–20 months after.
Khasi pine usually grows in pure stands or mixed with broad-leaved trees, but does not form open pine forests.
The soft and light timber of Pinus kesiya can be used for a wide range of applications, including boxes, paper pulp, and temporary electric poles. It is intensely used for timber, both sourced in natural forests and plantations.