Canary Island date palm is the largest local palm. Pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelenii, although a species of the same genus, is one of the more diminutive palms. It might take many years to grow ten feet tall, and may never get twice as tall. Its pinnately compound leaves are only about two to four feet long. Thin leaflets are about five to ten inches long.
Such compact stature is a distinct advantage for some situations. With sufficient sunlight, pygmy date palm is a delightful houseplant. It is also appealing within atriums and cozily compact gardens. For those who appreciate the aesthetics but not the large size of most palms, pygmy date palm is a practical option. It actually resembles a common date palm.
Like all date palms, a pygmy date palm surrounds its single terminal bud with nasty long spines, which are specialized proximal leaflets. These spines are painful to interact with while grooming and pruning deteriorated old leaves and floral trusses back to their trunk. Unlike most other palms, mature pygmy date palms are not very conducive to relocation.