Miniature date palm

 
 

Miniature date palm, pygmy date palm, or Roebelin palm, is native to China, Laos, and Vietnam. It reaches a height of 12 feet, with a trunk up to 4 inches in diameter, narrowing towards the base and covered by leaves, although these are usually removed and only their bases remain. The leaves are up to 4 feet long and are composed of two rows of leaflets, those nearest the trunk transformed into spines. Inflorescences arise among the leaves and are up to 1.5 feet long, male or female in separate plants. Ripe fruits are purple and about half an inch long. It flowers and produces fruits throughout the year. The generic name derives from the Greek name for date palms. The species name honors the plant collector Carl Roebelen (1855-1927), who discovered it in Laos.


The photographed palm is in front of the chancellor's house. There are several other specimens in the campus; for example, in the patio of the Piñero Building, behind the Sánchez Hidalgo Building, in front of the Ramírez de Arellano Building, west of the Angel Espada Gymnasium, and near the main entrance to the Nursing Building. It is a common ornamental in Puerto Rico.

Pheonix roebelenii (Arecaceae)