This elegant and rare palm forms a slender, smooth, brown trunk to about 15 m tall that holds a fairly dense crown of 10 to 12 distinctly and strongly arching, regularly and narrowly pinnate, keeled, light green leaves on short, winged stalks. The leaf bases form a prominent, densely furry, reddish brown to grayish crownshaft. The short-stalked inflorescence holds many drooping, finely hairy branches. Basselinia velutina is native to rainforests on acidic soils in southern central and northeastern New Caledonia below 1000 m. The high altitude plants on Mt. Panié once attributed to this species apparently are distinct and await description as a new species (see. Basselinia sp. "Moorei"). In cultivation it is only seen in a few enthusiasts' collections. It is best suited to tropical and some warm temperate climates.