Niebla josecuervoi

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
April 2003, Oct. 2005, Sep 2012

Niebla and Vermilacinia (Ramalinaceae) from California and Baja California.  
Spjut, R.W., 1996. ISSN 0833-1475, 208 pp.  
Sida, Botanical Miscellany: 14. Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Inc.



josecuervoi-9047.jpg (124475 bytes)

Cerro Solo, Spjut & Marin 9047J, Apr 1985

josecuervoi-10281A.jpg (125549 bytes)

SW of El Rosario,
Spjut 10281A, Mar 1988

josecuervoi-11297.jpg (270116 bytes)

Punta Canoas,
Spjut 11297, Apr 1990

Bahía de San Quintín, BCN
rocks along beach,
Spjut 9328, May 1986

Just W of San Andrés Ranch,
N-facing steep rocky cliffs,
Spjut 9889B, May 1986

Ridge S of El Marrón,
Spjut 9961
May 1986

Mesa above Punta Baja,
Spjut 10258, Mar 1988

Ridge above Punta Rocosa,
Spjut 10349, Mar 1988

 Punta Blanca,
Spjut & Marin 11455
Apr 1990

Ridge above Punta Rocosa,
Spjut 10345, Mar 1988

Puerta Catarina, Spjut 13103,
Apr 1994

Bahía Santa María,
Spjut & Marin 11572
Apr 1990

Mesa above San Antonio
del Mar,
Spjut 11178, Apr 1990

Illustration of TLC Data
for Niebla spp.

Geographical Distribution



     Niebla josecuervoi is a lichen that is endemic to the Baja California peninsula, occurring  along the Pacific Coast from Punta Rocosa north to Ejido Erendira.  It is usually found on rocks, but occasinoally terricolous among lava rubble in the transitional California chaparral-Northern Vizcaíno Desert region—between El Rosario and Campo Nuevo.  

     Unlike Niebla arenaria that may comprise a single dominant Niebla community, N. josecuervoi is usually a member of a multi-species Niebla community.  In its northern range, such as in the coastal chaparral region between San Quintín and San Vicente, it occurs on rocks with N. fimbriata (sekikaic acid).  Around Bahía de San Quintín it is commonly associated with N. homalea (divaricatic acid), N. eburnea (divaricatic acid) and N. juncosa var. spinulifera (divaricatic acid)In the desert transition zone, southwest of El Rosario, terricolous forms grow on lava mesas in association with N. effusa (salazinic acid), N. arenaria (salazinic acid), and N. juncosa var. spinulifera.  In the Northern Vizcaíno Desert, it is saxicolous, primarily with N. turgida (divaricatic acid) on Mesa Santa Catarina and along beaches with N. flabellata (salazinic acid). Further south, it is associated with numerous species of Niebla,  especially in a highly diverse Niebla community on Mesa Camacho.

     South of Punta Rocosa, N. josecuervoi is replaced by N. marinii (salazinic acid) as seen at Morro Santo Domingo where N. marinii is notably dominant in a Niebla community that included N. lobulata and N. juncosa var. juncosa within a higher plant community of Joshua tree woodland of Yucca vallida.  Both species were named after field assistants, José Cuervo and Richard Marin.

     Niebla josecuervoi is distinguished by having salazinic acid and by producing numerous fragmentation branchlets, pectinately arranged (comb-like) along a main basal branch.   Apothecia usually develop on the spinuliferous (fragmentation) branchlets. Most thalli bear  apothecia (>90%, Spjut 1996) in contrast to the terricolous N. effusa (salazinic acid) with less frequent apothecia (~66%, Spjut 1996) and with the fragmentation branchlets confined more to an apical dilated branch.  Another related salazinic-acid species, N. arenaria, in which apothecia are rarely present, has relatively short bifurcate spine-like (acicular) branchlets. 

     Niebla josescuervoi is morphologically similar to N. fimbriata (sekikaic acid), N. turgida (divaricatic acid), N. juncosa (divaricatic acid, and  N. pulchribarbara (protocetraric acid). They are easily identified by their lichen substances.  Other salazinic acid species such as N. marinii and N. angulata (Spjut ined.) are identified by the lack of fragmentation branchlets; their basal branches mostly divide dichotomously into equal branch segments.  Another salazinic-acid species, N. flabellata, differs by the thallus divided into small tufts of flattened lacerated branches.