There are lots of palm trees that reach eye-watering heights, but none are taller than the wax palm.
Native to northwest Colombia, they tower over other “large” trees, and vegetation to stand at 160-200 meters high. They´re so tall they are known to pierce low-lying lying clouds.
|Scientific Name||Ceroxylon Quindiuense|
|Height||Grows to 160-200ft|
|Branch Spread||Up to 15m|
|Best Conditions For Growth||Rainy climate, Volcanic soils|
|Appearance||Narrow trunk that raises the crown fronds into the skies.|
|Purpose||Candle making, National Tree of Colombia, Home for endangered Yellow-eared parrot|
|Growth||Slow. Can take up to 80 years to reach sexual maturity.|
|Similar/Related To||Coconut palm tree and other palm trees|
The wax palm or Ceroxylon Quindiuense has several identifying features. First is its green-brown trunk with a thick wax layer coating it that often appears silver-white. This is generally found in Columbia at high elevations.
Suitable Conditions For Growth
The tallest palm trees in the world grow only in the highlands of the Valle de Corcoran mountains. Due to the altitude of the location, it is rainy and the soil that supports such tall trees is volcanic and mineral-rich.
However, the people living in this area are farming in the area. As a result, seeds of the tallest palm trees rarely sprout.
With the little number of new trees, the tallest palm tree in the world is about to go extinct. In a bid to protect the tree, the government of Colombia has declared it illegal to cut down the tree and has also made it the national tree.
The tree grows slowly. It takes up to 15 years for this palm tree to develop a strong stem. After 15 years, it could take another 5 years for the crown of fronds to form.
Another contributor to the low numbers of the tallest palm trees in the world to grow is that they take up to 80 years to become reproductive.
The most significant aspect of the wax palm tree is its height. It grows up to 60m or 200ft high. The top of the fronds touches the lower-level clouds. While at the base of the tree, it is difficult to measure how high the tree is.
Additionally, this tree has rings. The rings represent the age of the tree. Every year, the tree sheds its leaves as it grows. The level at which the leaves are shed creates a ring. Thus, you can count the rings on the tree to estimate the age of the tree.
Now that it is a protected tree, the wax palm is not used as much as it was,
The main use of the tree is to make candles. The stem of this palm tree produces a thick wax that is used in candle making.
Fronds on younger trees were also used by the Catholic faithful for Palm Sunday. Cutting off the fronds on the young palm trees also led to stagnation in growth.
Now that it is a protected tree, it is the national tree of Colombia and its image is the emblem of the country. Making it more internationally recognizable.