Bonpl. ex DC.
The species are almost exclusively montane and include the tallest palm (and thus tallest monocotyledon), C. quindiuense, which reaches 61 m (200 ft) in height, and species growing at the highest altitude of the palm family (Arecaceae), at more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) in elevation.
Ceroxylon palms develop single, smooth, wax-covered, often whitish cylindrical trunks encircled by ringed leafbase scars. Ceroxylon species are dioecious (the individual plant produces flowers of only one sex). Leaves are pinnate. Inflorescences emerge from among, and often project conspicuously beyond, the leaves. Round fruits, up to one inch in diameter, are red or orange at maturity. Many Ceroxylon species are endangered by habitat destruction.
Two species of Andean wax palms, C. quindiuense and C. alpinum, provide nesting sites and food for species of Colombian parrots now in danger of extinction, Ognorhynchus icterotis and Conurus icterotis.
Several Ceroxylon species, including C. quindiuense, C. alpinum, C. vogelianum, C. ventricosum, and C. parvifrons, are cultivated as ornamental trees outside their native range in cool, humid, mild climates with minimal frosts, such as parts of Australia, coastal California, Hawai'i, New Zealand, South Africa, and coastal Western Europe. The Jose Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden in Bogotá, Colombia, contains an extensive planting of Ceroxylon palms. Other public gardens where cultivated Ceroxylon spp. can be viewed include the San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, the Huntington Botanical Gardens, in Pasadena (near Los Angeles), California, and the Oakland Palmetum at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, California.
The genus contains the following species:
- Ceroxylon alpinum
- Ceroxylon amazonicum
- Ceroxylon ceriferum
- Ceroxylon echinulatum
- Ceroxylon parvifrons
- Ceroxylon parvum
- Ceroxylon quindiuense
- Ceroxylon sasaimae
- Ceroxylon ventricosum
- Ceroxylon vogelianum
- Ceroxylon weberbaueri
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