Niebla juncosa

©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
April 2003, Oct. 2005, Sep 2012
Additional images May 2017, Nov 2021

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.

Evolutionary history of coastal species of fog lichen genera
, Ramalina and Vermilacinia
Emmanuel Sérusiaux & Richard  Spjut
Baja California, Jan-Feb 2016

Spjut R, Simon A, Guissard M, Magain N, Sérusiaux E. The fruticose genera in the Ramalinaceae (Ascomycota, Lecanoromycetes): their diversity and evolutionary history.  MycoKeys. 2020 Oct 30;74:109-110].
MycoKeys. 2020;73:1-68. Published 2020 Sep 11. doi:10.3897/mycokeys.73.47287

Evolution and diversification of Niebla
Steven Leavitt et al., Baja California, Dec 2016

Jorna J, J Linde, P Searle, A Jackson, M-E Nielsen, M Nate, N Saxton, F Grewe, M de los Angeles Herrera-Campos, R Spjut, H Wu, B Ho, S Leavitt, T Lumbsch.  Species boundaries in the messy middle -- testing the hypothesis of micro-endemism in a recently diverged lineage of coastal fog desert lichen fungi. Ecology and Evolution. Published Online: 20 Dec 2021.

See also Niebla for phylogeography of the genus



Var. juncosa ~ 2 km W of Punta Santa Rosalillita, south side of road; 28°40.572, 114°13.736, 35 m. Northern Vizcaíno Desert, Coastal desert shrubs on level ground of pebble rocks with Niebla among scattered shrubs and small trees, Pachycormus, Fouquieria. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17304-4877, 01 Feb 2016


Var. juncosa. Bahía de San
Quintín, Leavitt et al. 16-707, Dec 2016,

Var. juncosa x N. eburnea

 ~ 2 km W of Punta Santa Rosalillita, south side of road; 28°40.572, 114°13.736, 35 m. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17315-4882, 01 Feb 2016
(var. juncosa in Spjut et al. 2020)

juncosa-11449.jpg (40787 bytes)

Var. juncosa. Arroyo Sauces, 
between Punta Canoas and Punta Blanca, Spjut & Marin 11449
Apr 1990, Divaricatic acid 
(TLC Jan 1993)

juncosa10000j-isotype-1.jpg (85181 bytes)

Var. juncosa.  Ridge S of El Marron,
500 m, between Punta Negra and 
Punta Rocosa, Spjut 10000J, May 
1986, Divaricatic acid (TLC Oct 1987), isotype,

juncosa-11535.jpg (40826 bytes)

Var. juncosa. Punta Cono, 
Spjut & Marin 11535
Apr 1990, Divaricatic acid 
(TLC Aug 1990)

niebla_juncosa_9834.jpg (96040 bytes)

Var. juncosa
Morro Santo Domingo, 
Spjut 9834, May 1986

niebla_juncosa_11577.jpg (220924 bytes)

Var. juncosa 
Bahía Santa María, 
Spjut & Marin 11577
Apr 1990

niebla_juncosa_11387.jpg (147660 bytes)

Var. juncosa 
San José Ranch, 
Spjut & Marin 11387
Apr 1990

Var. juncosa 
Peak above Punta Rocosa
Spjut 10334
Mar 1988

Var. juncosa 
Between Campo Nuevo and
Punta San Carlos
Spjut 12764
Apr 1993




Var. spinulifera. Bahía de San
ín, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17027, Jan 2016

Var. spinulifera. Bahía de San
ín, Leavitt et al. 16-706, Dec 2016,

Var. spinulifera. Morro Santo Domingo, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17282a-4860, Feb 2016
17282b N. marinii (salazinic acid)

Var. spinulifera (x effusa?), Bahía de San Quintín, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17055(a), Jan 2016, occurring with 17054 shown above and 17055B, N. eburnea.


Var. spinulifera. Bahía de San
Quintín, Spjut 10234, Mar 1988, Divaricatic acid (TLC Apr 1988)


spinulifera-10237.jpg (141415 bytes)

Var. spinulifera.
ía de San Quintín,
Spjut 10237
, Mar 1988,
Divaricatic acid (TLC Apr 1988)

spinulifera-12660.jpg (80484 bytes)

Var. spinulifera
SW of El Rosario
on mesa above Punta Baja, Spjut &
Marin 12660
, Mar 1993, Divaricatic
acid (TLC Sep 1993)

spinulifera-12661.jpg (75908 bytes)

Var. spinulifera.
 SW of El Rosario on mesa above
Punta Baja, Spjut &
Marin 12661
, Mar 1993, Divaricatic acid (TLC Sep 1993)

     Niebla juncosa is a species of fruticose lichen endemic to Baja California, ranging from the southern part of the Northern Vizcaíno Desert at Morro Santo Domingo north to Punta Banda in the Coastal Sage Chaparral region.  It occurs on rocks along ridges and on sand under bushes near sea level.  It is  recognized by its bushy growth and by the basal branches that are long linear-like with  sharply defined margins that become densely lined with pycnidia in upper third, and with relatively smooth inter-marginal cortex. The primary branches  often expand near apex appearing with shorter secondary secund or pectinately arranged short branches of ± same width. 

     Two varieties are recognized by the regular and irregular orientation of branches and branchlets; the typical variety has branches oriented mostly in the same direction, usually erect to falcate secund (curved in same direction), in contrast to interwoven branches of var. spinulifera.  Also, the branch margins scarcely alternate or twist in var. juncosa, and the branches break off near apices. In contrast, var. spinulifera has twisted branches with spinuliferous side branchlets that break off near base or junction with the main branch.  These features appear to intergrade.

     The type for var. juncosa was collected on the upper surface of rocks on a ridge south of El Marrón where it was locally abundant.  It also was found growing on sand under bushes in a Yucca valida woodland at Morro Santo Domingo.  It is similar to N. infundibula that differs by a rigid thallus in which the branchlets remain intact, in contrast to the thallus breaking apart in var. juncosa

     Variety spinulifera is usually terricolous north of Campo Nuevo, but also occurs on rocks of ridges throughout much of Baja California Norte along the Pacific Coast. It is similar to saxicolous N. fimbriata that differs in having sekikaic acid (as opposed to divaricatic acid in both varieties of  N. juncosa), and by the more conspicuous reticulate ridges between margins.

     The type for N. juncosa var. juncosa was collected along coastal ridges between Punta Negra and Punta Rocosa, and that for var. spinulifera was collected between El Rosario and Punta Baja.  Spjut & Sérusiaux 17304 is closest to the type locality for var. juncosa, while 17027 corresponds to var. spinulifera.     

      Other species of Niebla that are similar to N. juncosa include  Niebla homalea that differs by the more rigid thallus, divided into relatively fewer and shorter branches with margins alternating 90º at frequent intervals, and N. turgida that has more teretiform branches with less defined margins and often with a prominently reticulate cortex.

     Phylogenetic trees revealed each variety in separate clades in Jorna et al. (2021), and in  Spjut et al. (2020, Fig. 7), var. spinulifera (1 specimen) appeared sister to var. juncosa (2 specimens) collected near Punta Santa Rosalillilta, while var. spinulifera was also present in two other clades. A BPP analysis in Spjut et al. (2020) determined that three specimens of var. spinulifera, two from near the vicinity of the type locality near San Quintín, and third from Morro Santo Domingo, could be determined as three species, which would correspond to the three different clades; N. flagelliforma was in two of the other clades, whereas N. homalea was recognized in one of the two clades near San Quintín


Additional References: See Niebla