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carnauba (kärnôˈbə, –nouˈ–) [key], wax obtained from the wax palm, or carnauba ( Copernicia cerifera ), of Brazil. It is secreted by the leaves, apparently in defense against the hot winds and droughts of its native habitat, and the resultant coating is removed by drying and flailing. The hardest, highest-melting natural wax known, its many commercial uses include the production of polishes, lubricants, and floor waxes. A similar wax is obtained from the trunk of Ceroxylon andicola, the wax palm of the Andes.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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