Once common in the subcanopy of lowland rainforests in coastal southwestern Costa Rica and northern Panama, this palms habitat has been much reduced by logging. It grows a slender, straight, brown trunk that is usually less spiny than some of the other species in the genus. The circular, palmate leaves are white underneath, which shows well when the leaves are moving in a breeze. It can easily be told apart from other Cryosophila by its mostly persistent, papery inflorescence bracts. It is rather rare in cultivation but easy and relatively quick to grow and a rewarding ornamental for the tropics.