J Syst Evol ›› 2016, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (3): 264-271.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12193

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Fossil leaves of Populus from the Middle Miocene of Yunnan, SW China

Xiao‐Qing Liang1,2, David K. Ferguson3, Tao Su1, and Zhe‐Kun Zhou1,4*   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303, Yunnan, China
    2School of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Yuxi Normal University, Yuxi 653100, Yunnan, China
    3Institute of Palaeontology, University of Vienna, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
    4Key Laboratory of Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, China
  • Received:2014-11-21 Published:2016-03-08

Abstract: Today southern Yunnan, SW China, has a tropical or subtropical climate and seasonal rainforests. In the past, some temperate elements were also present. In this paper, a new species of Populus is reported from the Middle Miocene deposits in Zhenyuan. Its leaves are ovate or ovate-suborbicular, with serrate margins. They have a shallowly cordate to cuneate base without glands, short acuminate apex, and salicoid teeth with spherical glands. The veins are glabrous but unicellular hair bases occur on the lower epidermis of the lamina. Stomata are confined to the lower epidermis. The presence of Populus in the Middle Miocene of the region indicates an expansion of the genus into low-latitude Asia in the late Cenozoic and a more complicated history of vegetational change in southern Yunnan than has so far been assumed.

Key words: Middle Miocene, palaeobotany, Populus, Salicaceae, southwest China