Common Names: carnauba wax palm
Family: Arecacea/Palmae (palm Family)
Palm For Wet, Boggy Areas Has evergreen foliage Has Unusual or
Carnauba wax palm is a spectacularly symmetrically small palm.
The carnauba wax palm, Copernicia prunifera, may be one of the most
economically important as well as aesthetically pleasing palms
around. It gets its name from the valuable heat resistant wax, which
is harvested from the leaves. The carnauba wax palm grows to 30 ft
(9.1 m) tall with a single gray trunk which is usually smooth on the
top 1/3, while the lower 2/3 is marked with persistent leaf bases in
a pleasing spiraling pattern. The crown is composed of about 24 fan
shaped blue to green waxy leaves. Each leaf is deeply divided
halfway into many segments and is about 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 m) wide. The
petioles are 2 -3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) long and are protectively covered
with long curved spines.
The carnauba wax palm is native to Brazil and like all palms in the
Copernicia genus, prefers savanna or open forests that occasionally
are subject to flooding.
This striking fan palm is adaptable to many different conditions.
Originating in savannas, it is able to withstand droughts as well as
the occasional flooding. It is not picky about soil and is
moderately salt tolerant.
Light: Full sun.
Moisture: Canauba wax palm is moderately tolerant of drought.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 10B - 11.
Propagation: By seeds which germinate in about 1-4 months. Growth is
The old leaf base attachments are arranged the length of the
carnauba palm's trunk in a hypnotic spiral.
Cultivated for commercial wax production in Brazil, the carnauba wax
palm is also a highly prized, but little used, landscape specimen
with few diseases or insect problems. With its ornamental blue/green
fan shaped leaves and unique persistent lower leaf bases, this palm
is ideal for the tropical home or commercial landscape. Care should
be taken to allow plenty of room for this palm's future growth so it
can achieve its best form.
The carnauba wax palm plays a very important economic role in Brazil
where the extraction and exportation of its heat resistant wax in a
major industry. This wax is used in numerous products such as car
waxes and floor polishes and even to protect the coatings on
There are several other members of this genus that are sometimes
seen in South Florida. There's the Bailey palm (Copernicia baileyana)
with it's "Coke bottle" trunk. From nearby Cuba we have the Cuban
wax palm (Copernicia hospita) and the Cuban petticoat palm (Copernicia
macroglossa) a very unique looker that has leaves that are almost
Care should be taken to avoid contact with the spiny teeth on the