Ceroxylon ceriferum

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Ceroxylon (seh-ROKS-ih-lon)
ceriferum (seh-rih-FEHR-uhm)
Estado Aragua, Monumento Natural Cerro Codazzi, 1500 m asl, Venezuela. Photo by Dr. John Dransfield, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew/Palmweb.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ceroxylon (seh-ROKS-ih-lon)
ceriferum (seh-rih-FEHR-uhm)
None set.
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Palma de cera, palma de ramo (Colombia), siri (Arhuaco, Colombia), ramo bendito (Venezuela).

Habitat and Distribution

Colombia, and Venezuela. In Venezuela, on the Cordillera de la Costa (Aragua, Miranda,
Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia.
Distrito Federal, Táchira), most commonly on the South slopes that head to the continent, and on the highest crests, and in Colombia, on the Northwestern side of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Magdalena, Guajira) and Serranía de Perijá, in montane rain forest, at (1900-) 2200-2800 m, usually forming groups of many individuals.


Stem 7-10 (-25) m tall, 14.5-28.0 cm in diam., silverish, covered with a rather thin layer of wax. Leaves 8-12, horizontal or ascendant and arched; in a hemispheric crown, sometimes with on old leaf hanging; sheath 67-120 (-180) cm long, 5.0-6.5 cm wide at apex, covered with thick, brownish, persistent indumentum; petiole 15-50 × 4.5-5.0 cm, wide, adaxially concave to flat on top, glabrescent, or with persistent, scale bases and some remnant scales towards margins, rounded abaxially, covered with appressed, grey-brownish scales; rachis 180-330 cm long, twisted 90° on distal portion thereby holding the pinnae in a vertical position, adaxially flattened in ?-? of its length, then sharp, without a notorious hastula-like projection, the surface glabrescent with scarce remnants of scales, abaxially covered with thick and whitish indumentum; pinnae 86-116 on each side, regularly arranged in one plane, horizontal and straight to pendulous in the basal part of the leaf, the apices equilateral to briefly inequilateral by 0.2-0.5 cm, adaxial midrib and surface glabrous, abaxial midrib covered with one row of deciduous, translucent, thin, 1-7 mm scales, surface covered with silvery white to cream or brown, membranaceaous scales, immersed in furrows, arranged in closely adjacent, 0.1-0.3 mm wide rows, hiding leaf surface; the most basal filiform pinnae16-48 × 0.2-0.9 cm, basal pinnae (10th from base) 40-64 × 0.6-2.1 cm, middle pinnae 57-91 × 2.4-5.5 cm, (0.7-)1.8-2.8 (-4.0) cm apart, apical pinnae 17-25 × 0.2-0.8 cm, never united along margins. Staminate inflorescences 1 or 2 at one time, erect; peduncle 83-96 cm long, covered with light-brown indumentum; prophyll 34-36 cm long, 13-14 cm wide; peduncular bracts 6-7, 46-167 × 7-12 cm, covered with persistent, brown to light-brown indumentum, and an additional, smaller, more distally inserted, membranaceous bract; rachis 44-73 cm long, with 52-75 branches, rachis and branches glabrescent, longest branches 34-36 cm long.

Pistillate inflorescences 2-8 at one time, erect in flower, becoming arched and pendulous in fruit; peduncle 90-143 cm long, 1.6-3.0 cm wide at apex, toward the base covered with persistent, woolly, light brown indumentum, glabrescent and green toward the apex; prophyll 25-42 cm long, 9-12 cm wide at base; peduncular bracts 6, 38-169 × 7-11 cm, and an additional, smaller, more distally inserted, 9-25 cm bract, all bracts covered with thick, brown or grey indumentum; rachis 49-90 (-120) cm long, with 45-72 branches, subtended by a 0.5-3.2 mm long, membranaceous, acuminate bract, longest branches near the base, 26-49 cm, rachis and branches glabrescent.


Cold Hardiness Zone: 9a

Comments and Curiosities

External Links


Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.

Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.

Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.

Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).

John Dransfield in Phytotaxa 34 (2011)

Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.

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