Carnauba (Copernicia prunifera)

ARECACEAE, Palm Family

Carnauba wax is the coating on the surface of the leaf, i.e., cuticle. Leaves of this fan palm are removed individually from the tree, cut and shredded, and then dried, so that wax flakes off. A pound of carnauba wax is obtained from about 20 leaves. This powder is melted, strained, and then molded into blocks, to be shipped to manufacturing countries.

There are a thousand and one uses for carnauba wax, but you are most likely to hear about it as the principal ingredient in fine car polishes, even applied as a spray at the car wash. Carnauba is also important for the best furniture polishes, as for hardwood floors, but can be found as coating on dental floss, disposible cups and plates, even lipstick.

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