The Persea group is a subset of the Lauraceae, including seven currently recognized genera, Alseodaphne Nees, Apollonias Nees, Dehaasia Bl., Machilus Rumph. ex Nees, Nothaphoebe Bl., Persea Mill., and Phoebe Nees, containing a total of 400 to 450 species. Alseodaphne consists of fifty species or more.
Researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) conducted an exploratory trip to Yunnan, China, and collected a questionable plant possibly belonging to Alseodaphne.
The researchers assessed the phylogenetic relationships of the genus Alseodaphne distributed in southwestern China by using DNA sequence data in addition to morphological data.
Based on both morphological and molecular evidence, the researchrs therefore propose a new genus Alseodaphnopsis, separated from the traditional genus Alseodaphne, to accommodate the independent Alseodaphne clade II including most of the species distributed in the northern margin of tropics in southwestern China (including the new species, Alseodaphnopsis ximengensis).
The new genus Alseodaphnopsis H. W. Li et J. Li is obviously very close to the genus Alseodaphne Nees (s. str.), but differs from the latter morphologically by 1) twigs thick, 4–11 mm in diam., and not obviously whitish in color; 2) terminal buds usually perulate; 3) perianth lobes ± persistent at least in young fruit; 4) inflorescences relatively large, 8.5–35 cm long, many-flowered, with 3–4 orders of branching; 5) fruits medium to large size (3–5 cm), without ribs.
Alseodaphnopsisincludes nine species, mainly distributed in the northern marginal part of the tropical zone in southwestern China, but extending also to NE India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. As far as it is known, the species grow preferentially in forests on limestone mountains.