Colombia - Coffee Triangle 066 - wax palms & the Valle de Cocora
Visiting the gorgeous scenery of the Valle de Cocora, its wax palms towering above the cloud forest.
Wax palms are the national tree of Colombia. Unique for growing above an attitude of 2500m (welcome to the warm tropics), they produce a waxy layer in their bark that was traditionally used by indigenous people. They grow to 50-60m in height and typically up to 60 years old. It was threatened with extinction as over-harvest of the wax (used in post-Colombian times for candle-making) kills the tree and the leaves were harvested (again killing the tree) for Palm Sunday celebrations. Today it is a protected species in Colombia.