Ceroxylon quindiuense

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Ceroxylon (seh-ROKS-ih-lon)
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Jeff Anderson for scale. Bogota, Colombia, at 8,612 ft (2625 meters), Photo by Jeff Anderson.
Scientific Classification
Genus: Ceroxylon (seh-ROKS-ih-lon)
Ceroxylon floccosum
Native Continent
Habit: Solitary
Leaf type: Pinnate
Survivability index
Common names
Palma de cera, palma de ramo (Colombia). Andean Wax Palm.

Habitat and Distribution

Ceroxylon quindiuense is found in Colombia, and Peru. Disjunct, with populations in the
Bogota, Colombia, at 8,612 ft (2625 meters), Photo by Jeff Anderson.
Andes of Colombia, along the central and eastern Cordillera (near the border with Venezuela), scarcely on the western Cordillera, and elsewhere forming populations in the Andes of northern Peru. It grows in humid montane forest, usually at 2000-3000 m, rarely up to 3150 m. It usually forms large and dense populations, many of which remain on pastures and forest remnants, especially on very steep slopes. (Maria Jose Sanin and Gloria Galeano. 2011)/Palmweb.


Stem (13-) 20-45 (-60) m tall, 25-40 cm in diam., white, with prominent leaf scars, covered with a very thick layer of wax. Leaves 14-20, in a dense, hemispheric crown; sheath 70-120 (-176) cm, covered with thick, light brown indumentum; petiole (29-) 44-80 cm long, 8.5-10.0 cm wide at the apex, abaxially covered with white indumentum of deciduous scales with persistent, thick, waxy bases; rachis 185-350 (-540) cm long, adaxially flattened in ½-? of its lenght, 2 mm hastula-like projection, glabrescent, abaxial surface covered with thick indumentum of white to cream, fibrous scales;


Ceroxylon quindiuense prefers moist, humus rich, well-drained soils. It prefers an acidic to neutral pH of soil. Position: Full sun to light shade. Slow growing. Ceroxylon quindiuense requires little maintenance. Cold Hardiness Zone: 8b

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Comments and Curiosities

This is a tillering palm, it exhibits saxophone style root growth (it has a heel), keep top third of heel above soil elevation!

Etymology: The etymological root of the binomial name Ceroxylon is derived from the Latin Cero meaning ‘coat with wax’ and xulon meaning ‘timber’. Quindiuense is derive from the region from where this palm is indigenous, Quindio, Colombia.

Ceroxylon quindiuense, commonly known as Quindio Wax Palm, Andean Wax Palm or Palma de cera del quindio, is native to mountainous regions of Colombia. This palm is the national tree of Colombia. It is the tallest recorded palm and monocot in the world (200 Ft. tall). The wax on the trunk of this palm was used to produce soap and candles. As a consequence this palm is classified as Vulnerable

Conservation: Ceroxylon quindiuense is known to have been a very abundant species in Colombia until the beginning of the last century, and even if some large populations persist in the Central Cordillera, it has been classified as Endangered (EN; Galeano & Bernal 2005). Most of the forests where this species grows have been turned into pastures, and while hundreds of adult palms are still left standing, the young seedlings do not grow. Besides that, the cutting of young leaves for Palm Sunday during many years, caused the death of many individuals, and a delay in normal growth of the palms. Additionally, in the last decade a new and unknown disease has been causing the death of many adult palms (Cardozo & Guzmán 1993). In Peru, although a formal evaluation has not been made, it is believed that the situation does not differ substantially from the Colombian one (Galeano et al. 2008). (Maria Jose Sanin and Gloria Galeano. 2011)/Palmweb.

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).

Sanin, Maria Jose & Galeano, Gloria. 2011. A revision of the Andean wax palms, Ceroxylon (Arecaceae).

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

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