I am running Ubuntu 16.04 in a VM.
I have successfully SSH'd into my Pi (Running Raspbian) using:
ssh -X <ip of Pi> -l <username>
When I run startlxde, an LXPanel shows up but it's off the desktop display and nothing is shown on itenter image description here

(The pink rectangle is my LXPanel)

EDIT: I was following this guide

Am I correct in thinking that the LXPanel should should show the pi desktop?

The best way to get the pi's desktop when headless would be to use a VNC server on the pi and then connect to it from your computer. If you look at the documentation for VNC on the RPi website this will guide you through how to setup VNC on the pi and connect to it from your computer.

As for the guide you were following to seems to be running the xserver on your computer instead of the pi which maybe causing you not to see the pi's desktop.

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