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Ceroxylon tallest and highest - Colombia Andes


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Ceroxylon  -  can we say se' ro'zylon???  in this article I would like to refer to my article in PRINCIPES April 1984 Vol. 28, No2. "The renewed quest for High Elevation Palms".  I was always fascinated with a palm that grew at 12-13,000 feet elevation, Ceroxylon utile as well as one that grew well over 200 feet tall - C. flexuosum and C. quindiuense.  At this time i suspect that C. utile is critically endangered.  Just north of the boarder with Ecuador in Columbia is where I located the species growing.  Unfortunately along the road were dead trunks of this palm used as utility poles.  The local farmers left smaller plants in their farming areas because they thought that they were beautiful.   The saving grace of the species is that the cloud forest is so thick and stunted where it grows (in the highest places) that it would take a chain saw to cut your way 30 feet into the thicket to see the emerged palm (see image).  Perhaps C. utile is the smallest of the genus.

Most of the intention of this article is to show in color pictures the awesome beauty of these palms.  Still in Southern Colombia but dropping down in elevation to 7-9,000 feet I found C. quindiuense and C. hexandrum.  Further along the road was an amazingly tall C. flexuosum (see image).  I have not been able to grow these because they absolutely do not like warm nights or high temperatures above 100 degrees.  There is a C. quindiuense growing in the Srybing Arboratum in San Francisco that Garren Fullington brought back from Columbia in 1976.  The last time I saw it it had 30 feet of trunk.  One of the images is of myself climbing a C. hexandrum to get those seeds!  One of those little seeds now stands tall in close proximity to the quindiuense at the same arboratum.  San Francisco has the perfect climate for these.  enjoy the pictures!  Dale  

Ceroxylon hexandrum Sibundoy, Colombia.jpg

Ceroxylon quindiuense Colombia.jpg

Ceroxylon flexuosum Colombia.jpg

Ceroxylon quindiuence harvest of seed.jpg

Ceroxylon utile Colombia.jpg

Ceroxylon hexandrum with Dale on tree.jpg

Ceroxylon utile crown.jpg

Ceroxylon hexandrum in valley.jpg

Ceroxylon quindiuense with Gabriel Bolivar.jpg

Ceroxylon quindiuense Antioquia, Guatape, Santa Rita, Columbia.jpg

Ceroxylon quiendiuense on hillside.jpg

Ceroxylon quindiuense group.jpg

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These Palms are spectacular and particularly in habitat. I believe Kyle has detailed these before but you can never get enough! Thank you!

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What you look for is what is looking

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Fantastic, thanks!


Jason Dewees

Inner Sunset District

San Francisco, California

Sunset zone 17

USDA zone 10a

21 inches / 530mm annual rainfall, mostly October to April

Humidity averages 60 to 85 percent year-round.

Summer: 67F/55F | 19C/12C

Winter: 56F/44F | 13C/6C

40-year extremes: 96F/26F | 35.5C/-3.8C

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