Abstract The role of neolignans in the chemotaxonomy of the genus Prunus has long been neglected. In this study, two new dihydrobenzofuran neolignans tomentosanans A (12) and B (14), together with 15 known neolignans, were isolated from the seeds of Prunus tomentosa. This is the first report on the occurrence of compounds 1–12, 14, 15 and 17 in the genus Prunus. The biosynthetic pathways of these neolignans are also summarized. Together, these neolignans represent a phytochemical fingerprint for P. tomentosa, which may be used for identification of Prunus species.