The Pliocene fluvio-lacustrine sediments of the Yuanmou Basin, Yunnan, near the southeastern part of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China, have yielded diverse and abundant assemblages of fossilized mammals and woods. The Yuanmou fossil woods reveal a wood flora with the highest diversity in the Cenozoic wood in China. The woods can play an important role in understanding palaeofloristics and in reconstructing palaeoclimate of southeastern China. In this study, we describe ten angiosperm taxa and three gymnosperm taxa namely: Castanopsis makinoi (Ogura) Suzuki & Terada (Fagaceae), Cedreloxylon cristalliferum Selmeier (Meliaceae), Dalbergioxylon biseriatensis sp. nov. (Fabaceae), Lagerstroemioxylon yuanmouensis Cheng, Li, Jiang & Wang (Lythraceae), Lithocarpoxylon microporosum sp. nov., Lithocarpoxylon sp. (Fagaceae), Paraalbizioxylon sinica sp. nov., P. yunnanensis sp. nov. (Fabaceae), Pterocaryoxylon huxii sp. nov. (Juglandaceae), Zelkova wakimizui (Watari) Watari (Ulmaceae), Abies sp. (Pinaceae), Cephalotaxus sp. (Cephalotaxaceae), and Picea sp. (Pinaceae). Nearest living relative (NLR) comparisons of these taxa, coupled with previously identified taxa, suggest that altitudinal vegetation zones were present in the Yuanmou region during the Pliocene: (i) subtropical evergreen and deciduous mixed broad-leaved forest dominated by Pterocarya/Juglans, Albizia/Acacia, Bischofia and allied taxa at lower elevations, (ii) subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest dominated by Quercus/Lithocarpus and Castanopsis at middle altitudes of mountains around the basin, and (iii) evergreen coniferous forest of Abies, Picea and other genera at the higher elevations of the mountains. Based on the habits of the NLRs, the prevailing climate was probably humid subtropical and thus differed from the present-day hot and dry climate supporting savanna. It is suggested that subtropical forest was predominant in Yunnan, while tropical rainforest occurred in southwest Asia and India during the same period. The uplift of the mountains near the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in western Yunnan presumably acted as a barrier to block warm and humid air from the Indian Ocean, which influenced the dispersal and distribution of plants.