1. Family: Arecaceae Bercht. & J.Presl
    1. Genus: Ceroxylon Bonpl. ex DC.
      1. Ceroxylon quindiuense (H.Karst.) H.Wendl.

        This species is accepted, and its native range is Colombia, N. Peru. It is used as animal food and an ornamental plant, has social uses and for fuel.

    General Description
    Stem (13-)20-45(-60) m tall, 25-40 cm 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; pinnae 70-128 on each side, regularly arranged in one plane, completely pendulous, adaxial surface glossy, olive-green but appearing grayish from a distance, the midrib covered with persistent scale base scars, abaxial surface and midrib densely covered with persistent, linear, white to cream, padded scales, never revealing the surface beneath in age; the most basal filiform pinnae 34-56 × 0.3-0.4 mm, basal pinnae (10th from base) 49-130 × 1.1-2.0 cm, middle pinnae 70-154 × (3.2-)4.4-6.0 cm, apical pinnae 41-62 × 0.7-2.5 cm, free. Staminate inflorescences 1-2 at one time; peduncular bracts 6-7, with an additional smaller bract inserted at base of peduncle; rachis 102 cm long, with about 91 branches, each subtended by a small, membranaceous, acuminate bract, rachis and branches glabrescent, longest branches 42 cm long. Pistillate inflorescences 2-5 at one time; peduncle 150-280 cm long, 4 cm wide at apex, covered with scattered, brown, eroded, appressed scales; prophyll 35-70 cm long, 17 cm wide; peduncular bracts 5-7, prophyll and peduncle bracts covered with persistent, brown to ferrugineous scales; rachis 90-163 cm long, with 63-76 branches, each subtended by a 0.2-2.0 cm long, membranous bract, longest branches 68-80 cm long; rachis and rachillae glabrous. Staminate flowers: sepals 3(-4), broadly triangular, 1.0-1.2 mm long, connate for 0.4 mm (1/3-½ of total length), reaching or exceeding total length of corolla tube; petals 3(-5), elliptical, long-acuminate, 4-7 mm long, including an acumen of 1.0-1.5(-3.5) mm long, connate for 1 mm; stamens 9-12(-17), 3-6 antisepalous stamens, and 3-9(-11) antipetalous stamens, filaments 1.0-3.5(-4.5) mm long, inserted at basal central portion of anther, anthers 2.2 mm long, anther connective not projected. Pistillate flowers: sepals 3, broadly-triangular-acuminate, 1.5 mm long, connate for 1 mm (2/3 of total length), not reaching corolla tube, petals 3, elliptical-acuminate, 4.0-7.5 mm long, connate for up to 1 mm, acumen narrow, 2-3 mm long; staminodes 12, 1-2 antisepalous, 2-3 antipetalous, filaments 3 mm long, abortive anthers 1.2 mm long, pistil trifid, 2-3 mm diam. Fruits globose, orange-red when ripe, 1.6-2.0 cm diam., exocarp very minutely warted; fruting perianth with sepals 1-2 mm long, connate in 0.2-0.5 mm, lobes reaching or exceeding corolla tube. Seeds ca.1 cm diam.
    Palma de cera, palma de ramo (Colombia).
    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.
    Disjunct, with populations in the 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.
    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).

    Bernal, R., Gradstein, S.R. & Celis, M. (eds.). 2015. Catálogo de plantas y líquenes de Colombia. Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá. http://catalogoplantasdecolombia.unal.edu.co

    Nativa en Colombia; Alt. 1550 - 3100 m.; Andes.
    Árbol, palma solitaria
    En Peligro

    The Useful Plants of Boyacá project

    Native from Colombia.
    Alt. 1550 - 3100 m.
    Since 1985, C. quindiuense is the national tree of Colombia (Galeano & Bernal 2005). Until few years ago, the young leaves were cut in large quantities to be used on Palm Sunday during Easter. This practice had become widely commercial, threatening the species, but has been reduced severely in the last few years as a result of law enforcement and widespread campaign. The stems are cut and used for posts, houses and fencing, or split to cover indoor walls. In Colombia, the extraction of wax covering the stems was an economically important activity during the XIXth century, since it was used for manufacturing candles and matches, which were sold at local markets. In order to extract the wax, locals climbed up the stem, but most commonly they felled the palm. Indigenous peoples sold the wax in small cakes (Boussingault 1849). The death of hundreds of palms was caused by this practice (Galeano & Bernal 2005). Still today in Peru (Amazonas), adult individuals are felled and laid on black cloths, then pounded until the waxy litter covering the trunk gathers on the cloths as small flakes. These flakes are molten and combined with beeswax to impregnate on linens which are twisted to make torches for outdoor lighting. Also in Peru, the populations of this species are being widely harvested for housing and posts, and the stem ripped for covering indoor walls (Galeano et al. 2008). C. quindiuense is cultivated as ornamental in Colombia.
    Animal Food
    Eaten by animals (Carvajal et al. 2014).
    Live plant (in situ) - Grown in parks and avenues (Carvajal et al. 2014).
    Fuels (State of the World's Plants 2016).
    Bark - The wax from its bark is used to make candles (Carvajal et al. 2014).
    Used to make hats (Linares 1994).
    Unspecified Materials Chemicals
    Materials (State of the World's Plants 2016).
    Stems - The stem is used to make poles for construction (Carvajal et al. 2014).
    Social uses (State of the World's Plants 2016).



    Native to:

    Colombia, Peru

    Common Names

    Palma de ramo, palma del Quindío, palma de cera.

    Ceroxylon quindiuense (H.Karst.) H.Wendl. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Jun 12, 2008 Pennington, T.D. [17688], Peru K000208964
    Jun 12, 2008 Pennington, T.D. [17857], Peru K000462454
    Cultivated [150-7601160] K000114463

    First published in Bonplandia (Hannover) 8: 70 (1860)

    Accepted by

    • Sanín, M.J. & Galeano, G. (2011). A revision of the Andean wax palms, Ceroxylon (Arecaceae) Phytotaxa 34: 1-64.
    • Idárraga-Piedrahita, A., Ortiz, R.D.C., Callejas Posada, R. & Merello, M. (eds.) (2011). Flora de Antioquia: Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares 2: 1-939. Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín.
    • Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005). World Checklist of Palms: 1-223. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
    • Govaerts, R. (1999). World Checklist of Seed Plants 3(1, 2a & 2b): 1-1532. MIM, Deurne.


    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
    • Maria Jose Sanin & Gloria Geleano in Phytotaxa 34 (2011)
    Useful Plants of Boyacá Project
    • Palmweb: Palms of the World Online, in The State of the World’s Plants Report–2016. (2016). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew https://stateoftheworldsplants.org/2016/
    • Carvajal, L., Ariza, W., Caro, L., Valero, N. (2014). Especies forestales representativas del Sur Oriente de Boyacá. Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas, Colombia
    • Linares, E. (1994). Inventario preliminar de las plantas utilizadas para elaborar artesanías en Colombia. Vniversitas Scientarium. Vol 2: 1-38
    Kew Backbone Distributions
    • Sanín, M.J. & Galeano, G. (2011). A revision of the Andean wax palms, Ceroxylon (Arecaceae) Phytotaxa 34: 1-64.


    Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Palmweb - Palms of the World Online
    Palmweb 2011. Palmweb: Palms of the World Online. Published on the internet http://www.palmweb.org. Accessed on 21/04/2013
    Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

    Useful Plants of Boyacá Project
    ColPlantA database