Jaoa prasina, a freshwater green alga endemic to China, was collected from a stream in Hubei province, China. Unialgal cultivation, morphological observation, and phylogenetic analyses of small subunit ribosomal DNA and RuBisCO large subunit sequences were performed. When cultured on agar medium, the alga was irregularly filamentous, similar to marine species of Acrochaete. Aplanospores were observed on solid medium. A vesicular-like thallus without rhizoids developed in liquid medium, similar to specimen development in natural habitats. Molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that Jaoa was closely related to the marine genera Acrochaete Pringsheim and Ulvella Crouan & Crouan. The results suggested the genus Jaoa is a member of the family Ulvellaceae (Ulvophyceae), which contains mostly marine algae. The family name Jaoaceae should be abandoned. We speculate that Jaoa may have evolved from a marine Ulvellaceae ancestor.