This hardy, low maintenance palm grows slowly and remains relatively small even in maturity - all desirable qualities explaining its ubiquitous status as a landscape or potted plant in front yards, hotels, commercial and retail centers, road sides and medians throughout Southern California.
P. robelenii, commonly call pygmy date or dwarf palm, has a soft, feathery appearance, with 3 to 5-foot-long leaves gently arching at a slight angle and widely spaced rows of 10 to 15-inch bright green leaflets that glisten in the sun. Some care is required when handling, as the first foot or so of the petiole is armed with thin, long, spiny thorns. These thorns are actually modified leaflets - a standard feature in the Phoeniceae tribe.
A popular and attractive tree that fits comfortably in any small residential yard or as a potted plant, the pygmy date palm naturally has a solitary, relatively straight trunk. When planted in clusters, this palm mimics the clustered look of a young P. reclinata, the trunks gently curving away from the cluster center.
The P. roebelenii grows at a slow to moderate rate of 3-4 inches per year, eventually reaching a mature height of 12 feet or slightly better. The leaves are persistent forming slightly bulbous, knuckle shaped leaf bases when manicured.