J Syst Evol ›› 2020, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (3): 354-366.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12499

• Research Articles • Previous Articles    

Diversity of Menispermaceae from the Paleocene and Eocene of South China

Meng Han1, 2, Xin-Kai Wu1, Ming Tu1, Tatiana M. Kodrul1, 3 and Jian-Hua Jin1,4*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Plant Resources, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat‐sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2Department of Natural Sciences, Shenzhen Museum, Shenzhen 518026, China
    3Department of Stratigraphy, Geological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 119017, Russia
    4State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
  • Received:2019-01-02 Accepted:2019-03-27 Online:2019-04-12 Published:2020-05-01


We present here the earliest known Asian fossil records of the Menispermaceae based on fossil fruits from Paleocene and Eocene localities in South China. A new genus and species, Paleoorbicarpum parvum sp. nov., and two new species of Stephania Loureiro, S. ornamenta sp. nov. and S. geniculata sp. nov., are recognized from Paleocene deposits of the Sanshui Basin, Guangdong, and a new occurrence of the widespread Eocene species Stephania auriformis (Hollick) Han & Manchester is recognized from the Maoming Basin, Guangdong. The Paleocene Stephania specimens described here represent the earliest fossil endocarp record of the Menispermaceae in eastern Asia. This discovery shows that the moonseed family had arrived in tropical and humid South China by at least the middle Paleocene, which provides important evidence for the origin and phytogeographic history of the family.

Key words: East Asia, endocarps, Eocene, Menispermaceae, Paleocene