Phoenix roebelenii

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Phoenix roebelenii
Starr 070124-3839 Phoenix roebelenii.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Clade: Commelinids
Order: Arecales
Family: Arecaceae
Genus: Phoenix
P. roebelenii
Binomial name
Phoenix roebelenii

Phoenix roebelenii, with common names of dwarf date palm,[1] pygmy date palm, miniature date palm or robellini palm, is a species of date palm native to southeastern Asia, from southwestern China (Yunnan Province), northern Laos and northern Vietnam (in Dien Bien Province, Ha Giang Province, Cao Bang Province, Lang Son Province).[2][3]

The Latin specific epithet roebelenii honours the orchid collector Carl Roebelen (1855–1927).[4]


Phoenix roebelenii is a small to medium-sized, slow-growing slender tree growing to 2–7 metres (6.6–23.0 ft) tall. The leaves are 60–120 cm (24–47 in) long, pinnate, with around 100 leaflets arranged in a single plane (unlike the related P. loureiroi where the leaflets are in two planes). Each leaflet is 15–25 cm (6–10 in) long and 1 cm wide, slightly drooping, and grey-green in colour with scurfy pubescence below.

The flowers are small, yellowish, produced on a 45 cm (18 in) inflorescence. The fruit is an edible 1 cm drupe resembling a small, thin-fleshed date.[5]

This Palm produces strong, spiny thorns approx. 2-4" in length. The size of the thorns depends on the age of the tree. These thorns are located on the Palm Leaf stem close to the truck and can may extend 6-12" from the trunk. The thorns are very sharp and easily penetrate the skin. They are poisonous and can cause irritation, skin infection, bruising and can be severe. They can also cause an allergic reaction. These reactions differentiate on the exposure.[citation needed]

Cultivation and uses[edit]

Phoenix roebelenii is a popular ornamental plant in gardens in tropical and subtropical climate areas. With a minimum temperature requirement of 26 °F (−3 °C) it is grown under glass or as a houseplant in cooler areas.[6] It needs little pruning to develop a strong structure, is resistant to pests, is tolerant to soil variation, and is moderately drought tolerant. The plant grows in partial shade to full sun, with the local climate determining where to plant.

This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[7][8]

The NASA Clean Air Study concluded that this was a plant that was effective at removing common household air toxins formaldehyde and benzene.



  1. ^ Palmpedia
  2. ^ WCSP, World Checklist of Arecaceae: Phoenix roebelenii[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Phoenix roebelenii". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  4. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for Gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 978-1845337315.
  5. ^ Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  6. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 978-1405332965.
  7. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Phoenix roebelenii". Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  8. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 77. Retrieved 25 April 2018.

External links[edit]