The genus Cunninghamia, family Taxodiaceae, is now distributed in the mixed mesophytic forests of southeastern China and the mixed coniferous-deciduous hardwood forests of Taiwan. Currently, three species of Cunninghamia are recognized: C. konishii, native to the mountainous northern region of Taiwan, and C. lanceolata and C. unicanaliculata, native to southeastern China. Despite the limited number of species and their restricted geographical distribution, Cunninghamia has an extensive paleobotanical record. Earliest fossil records of Cunninghamia are found in the Yuanbaoshan Formation, of Inner Mongolia. The age is assigned to middle early Cretaceous (Hauterivian-Barremian). By the middle Eocene,Cunninghamia was distributed in both western North America and western Europe. Early Paleogene fossils from the Eureka Sound Group, Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg Islands in the Canadian Arctic (paleolatitudes of 75-80 N) indicates migration via both the Bering and the North Atlantic Land Bridges by the late Paleocene (Thanetian). Cunninghamia became extinct in both North America and Europe by the end of the Miocene. The present distribution of the genus is limited to regions of mean annual temperature (MAT) of 15 to 19 C and mean annual precipitation (MAP) exceeding 1500 mm. Its limited distribution is a result of continual global cooling since the Eocene thermal maximum.

Key words: biogeography, Cunninghamia, Taxodiaceae