Stem (13-)20-45(-60) m tall, 25-40 cm diam., white, with prominent leaf scars, covered with a very thick layer of wax. Leaves 14-20, in a dense, hemispheric crown; sheath 70-120(-176) cm, covered with thick, light brown indumentum; petiole (29-)44-80 cm long, 8.5-10.0 cm wide at the apex, abaxially covered with white indumentum of deciduous scales with persistent, thick, waxy bases; rachis 185-350(-540) cm long, adaxially flattened in half of its length, 2 mm hastula-like projection, glabrescent, abaxial surface covered with thick indumentum of white to cream, fibrous scales; pinnae 70-128 on each side, regularly arranged in one plane, completely pendulous, adaxial surface glossy, olive-green but appearing grayish from a distance, the midrib covered with persistent scale base scars, abaxial surface and midrib densely covered with persistent, linear, white to cream, padded scales, never revealing the surface beneath in age; Fruits globose, orange-red when ripe, 1.6-2.0 cm diam., exocarp very minutely warted; Seeds ca.1 cm diam. C. quindiuense is diagnosed by its robust and white stem, its regularly arranged, completely pendulous and silverish pinnae, staminate flowers with 9-12(-17) stamens (anther connective not projected), and minutely warted fruits. These characters are constant even among the two very widely disjunct Peruvian and Colombian populations, with very slight variations in flower size.
The tallest palm in the world at 200 ft. Since 1985, C. quindiuense is the national tree of Colombia. Known to have been a very abundant species in Colombia until the beginning of the last century, and even if some large populations persist in the Central Cordillera, it has been classified as Endangered.
Nativo para, Colombia, Peru
Disjunct, with populations in the Andes of Colombia, along the central and eastern Cordillera (near the border with Venezuela), scarcely on the western Cordillera, and elsewhere forming populations in the Andes of northern Peru. It grows in humid montane forest, usually at 2000-3000 m, rarely up to 3150 m. It usually forms large and dense populations, many of which remain on pastures and forest remnants, especially on very steep slopes.