Ceroxylon quindiuense

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ceroxylon quindiuense
At Armenia, Colombia.
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Ceroxylon
C. quindiuense
Binomial name
Ceroxylon quindiuense
  • Ceroxylon floccosum Burret
  • Klopstockia quindiuensis H.Karst.

Ceroxylon quindiuense, often called Quindío wax palm,[3] is a palm native to the humid montane forests of the Andes in Colombia and Peru.[4]

View of Cocora valley (Colombia) with Ceroxylon quindiuense palms


This palm species can grow to a height of 45 m (148 ft) —or rarely, even as high as 60 m (200 ft).[4] It is the tallest recorded monocot in the world.[5] The trunk is cylindrical, smooth, light colored, covered with wax; leaf scars forming dark rings around the trunk.[4] The leaves are dark green and grayish, 185–540 cm (6.1–17.7 ft) long, with a petiole up to 80 cm (31 in).[4] Fruits are globose and orange-red when ripe, 1.6–2 cm (0.6–0.8 in) in diameter.[4]


Ceroxylon quindiuense was described by Gustav Karl Wilhelm Hermann Karsten and published in Bonplandia (Hannover) 8: 70. (1860).[2]


Ceroxylon: generic name composed of the Greek words: kèròs = "wax" and xγlon = "wood", in reference to the thick white wax found on the trunks.[6] quindiuense: geographical epithet alluding to its location in Quindío.



It grows in large and dense populations along the central and eastern Andes of Colombia (rarely in the western Colombian Andes), with a disjunct distribution in the Andes of northern Peru.[4] The elevational range of this species is between 2,000 and 3,100 m (6,600 and 10,200 ft) above sea level.[4] It achieves a minimum reproductive age at 80 years.[3] Wax palms provide habitats for many unique life forms, including endangered species such as the yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis).

Vernacular names[edit]

Palma de cera, palma de ramo (both names in Colombia).[4]


Populations of Ceroxylon quindiuense are threatened by habitat disturbance, overharvesting and diseases.[3] The fruit was used as feed for cattle and pigs. The leaves were extensively used in the Catholic celebrations of Palm Sunday;[7] such leaves coming from young individuals which were damaged to death.[3] That activity has been reduced severely in recent years due to law enforcement and widespread campaign.[4] Felling of Ceroxylon quindiuense palms to obtain wax from the trunk also is an activity still going on in Colombia and Peru.[4] The palm is recognized as the national tree of Colombia, and since the implementation of Law 61 of 1985, it is legally a protected species in that country.[3][8]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

The wax of the trunk was used to make candles, especially in the 19th century.[4] The outer part of the stem of the palm has been used locally for building houses, and was used to build water supply systems for impoverished farmers.[4][3] It is cultivated as an ornamental plant in Colombia and California.[4][3]



  1. ^ Bernal, R. (1998). "Ceroxylon quindiuense". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 1998: e.T38467A10120959. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.1998.RLTS.T38467A10120959.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ceroxylon quindiuense". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 23 February 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Madriñan, S.; Schultes, R.E. (1995). "Colombia's national tree: the wax palm Ceroxylon quindiuense and its relatives" (PDF). Elaeis. 7 (1): 35–56.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sanin, Maria Jose; Galeano, Gloria (2011). "A revision of the Andean wax palms, Ceroxylon (Arecaceae)" (PDF). Phytotaxa (34): 47–50. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Ceroxylon quindiuense - Palmpedia - Palm Grower's Guide". palmpedia.net. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  6. ^ J. Dransfield & N. Uhl & C. Asmussen & W.J. Baker & M. Harley & C. Lewis (2008). Genera Palmarum. The evolution and classification of palms.
  7. ^ "Bogotá, 'Reconcíliate con la Naturaleza' este Domingo de Ramos". En Detalle. Portal Bogota WACG. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  8. ^ Presidencia de la República de Colombia. "Símbolos patrios" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 6 April 2016.