The Phoenix roebelenii palm is a dwarf plant, with a maximum height of 5 m, but generally its trunk does not measure more than 1m in height. Its growth is slow. It is endemic to Southeast Asia, southwest China (Yunnan), northern Laos and Vietnam.
Roebeleni is the epithet given in honour of Carl Roebelen, who discovered this palm tree in Laos.
Its leaves are pinnatisects, up to 140 cm long, with short segments (20 cm long), narrow, flexible, bright green, regularly arranged in a single plane, a rigid base which is very sharp. Its flowers are tiny and yellowish, produced in an inflorescence of 45 cm long, grouped in interfoliar panicles protected by a spathe, half the length of the leaves. It blooms in Summer. Its fruit is a balloon-like drupe up to 1 cm long, edible and dark in colour when ripe.
This palm is a popular ornamental plant in tropical to temperate regions.