Stem 7-10(-25)m tall, 14.5-28.0 cm diam., silverish, covered with a rather thin layer of wax. Leaves 8-12, horizontal or ascendant and arched, in a hemispheric crown, sometimes with on old leaf hanging; petiole 15-50 x 4.5-5.0 cm, wide, adaxially concave to flat on top, glabrescent, or with persistent, scale bases and some remnant scales towards margins, rounded abaxially, covered with appressed, grey-brownish scales; rachis 180-330 cm long, twisted 90° on distal portion thereby holding the pinnae in a vertical position, adaxially flattened in half of its length, then sharp, without a notorious hastula-like projection, the surface glabrescent with scarce remnants of scales, abaxially covered with thick and whitish indumentum; pinnae 86-116 on each side, regularly arranged in one plane, horizontal and straight to pendulous in the basal part of the leaf. Fruits globose, orange-red when ripe, 1.4-1.5 cm diam., exocarp minutely granulose. Seeds ca. 1 cm diam. C. ceriferum is diagnosed by having a crown with few leaves arched and twisted 90° on distal portion thereby holding the pinnae in a vertical position by its regularly arranged pinnae, almost horizontal and straight, small staminate flowers with 7 to 12 stamens, and fruit with exocarp minutely granulose.
Endangered in the wild, and not known in cultivation. Fortunately, there are some areas of reserve that have been established in the last 20 years that protect some parts of the population.
Native to, Colombia, Venezuela
In Venezuela, on the Cordillera de la Costa (Aragua, Miranda, Distrito Federal, Tachira), most commonly on the South slopes that head to the continent, and on the highest crests, and in Colombia, on the Northwestern side of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (Magdalena, Guajira) and Serrania de Perija, in montane rain forest, at (1900-)2200-2800 m, usually forming groups of many individuals.