Carnauba wax is yellow and is obtained from the leaves of a palm tree known as Copernicacerifera, which is also referred to as the 'Tree of Life'. This slow-growing carnauba palm flourishes in the north-eastern regions of Brazil, reaching an average height of 8-12m. It proliferates along river banks, streams and damp lowlands.
The tree exudes a wax through the petioles of its fan-shaped leaves, preventing dehydration from the equatorial climate.
The cutting of the leaves and sprouts takes place during the dry months of September through to February. Workers use knives on long poles to trim the leaves from mature trees. The cut leaves are sun-dried and mechanically thrashed to remove the crude wax.
With a maximum cutting of twenty leaves per year from a tree, the average yield of wax for each tree is about one kilo per cutting. The majority of tree harvesting takes place in the Brazilian states of Ceara and Piaui. The color and quality of the wax are governed by the age of the leaves and care used in processing of this hard, brittle, lustrous wax.