Bonpl. ex D.C.
Bull. Sci. Soc. Philom. Paris 3: 239 (1804)
Medium sized to large, dioecious palms. Stem solitary, tall, smooth, often white and with black leaf scars, frequently thickened in the middle. Leaves pinnate, regularly divided; pinnae regularly inserted in one plane and then sometimes pendulous, OR grouped and spreading in different planes and then sometimes bending in the middle, below silverish or with a thick waxy tomentum. Inflorescence interfoliar, elongate, branched 2-4 times, with one prophyll and several persistent, peduncular bracts. Flowers pedicellate, borne singly, with 3 free sepals and 3 free petals, which in male flowers are open from an early stage in the development; male flowers with 6-12 stamens and a small pistillode; female flowers with 6 staminodes and a style borne basally between one large and two reduced carpels. Fruit small, round, smooth or finely warted, green, usually turning red at maturity.
and diversity: Ceroxylon is the only genus in the Neotropics that has an entirely montane distribution. It includes some 15 species in the Andes from Venezuela to Bolivia, found mainly at 1500-2500 m altitude.
Seven species have been recorded in Ecuador; one of these (C. amazonicum) is unique in that it ocurrs at only 900-1100 m elevation.
The genus belongs to a biogeographically interesting group of four genera scattered over the southern hemisphere, with representatives in Madagascar, the Comores Islands, Australia, Juan Fernandez Islands, and the Andes.
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