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Wax palms in the Quindio area of Columbia

The Quindio wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense) is a tree which lives on the western slopes of the Andes mountains in Quindío (a region in northwest Colombia).  This palm tree has a smooth waxy trunk topped by a crown of dark gray green leaves….and what a trunk it has!  The tree grows to heights of 50 and occasionally 60 meters (160-200 feet) a bit taller than the space shuttle or the Statue of Liberty (without its base).  They are the tallest palm trees in the world. They are exceedingly beautiful and magical.

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(Monilemor photography)

The Quindio palms almost went extinct since people relentlessly overharvested them to make wax candles and torches and for palm fronds (which have a religious significance in Christianity).  This would have been a tremendous shame since the palms are not just magnificent in their own right but also provide a habitat for astonishing animals such as the yellow-eared parrot.

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Although the palms are still in trouble due to habitat loss, they are now stringently protected by law (and they have been named the national tree of Colombia).  Additionally landscapers grow them in warm climates around the world. Somehow I still find it hard to believe they are real…just look at them.  The world is filled with beautiful wonders!

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