Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan is a global biodiversity hotspot. Based on physiognomic and ecological characteristics, floristic composition and habitats, the primary forest vegetation in Xishuangbanna can be categorized into seven main vegetation types and thirtytwo formations: tropical rainforest, tropical seasonal moist forest, tropical monsoon forest, tropical lower montane evergreen broadleaved forest, topical palm forest, tropical coniferous forest and bamboo forest. Due to conspicuous similarity in regards to ecological and floristic characteristics, the tropical rainforest in Xishuangbanna is a type of tropical Asian rainforest. The monsoon forest in Xishuangbanna is a tropical deciduous forest under the influence of a strong monsoon climate and is considered a transitional vegetation type between tropical rainforest and savanna in physiognomy and distribution. The tropical montane evergreen broadleaved forest is the main montane vegetation type in the region. It is considered a distinct vegetation type from the northern margin of mainland southeastern Asia, controlled by a strong seasonal climate, based on its floristic and physiognomic characteristics. This article is a synthetic study on the vegetation of Xishuangbanna and the aim is to provide a reference for scientific research, biodiversity conservation and nature reserve management.