Niebla laminaria

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
April 2003, Oct 2005, Sep 2012
Additions June 2017

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
Niebla, Ramalina and Vermilacinia

Emmanuel Sérusiaux & Richard  Spjut
Baja California, Jan-Feb 2016

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


Laguna and peninsula of San Quintín, N 30°26.988', W 115°59.659', 10 m, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17028, Jan 2016


Southwest of San Quintín in the Punta Mazo Reserve, west-facing slope on Monte Cenizo, 80 m, Leavitt et al. 16-778, Dec 2016

Southwest of San Quintín in the Punta Mazo Reserve, west-facing slope on Monte Cenizo, 80 m, Leavitt et al. 16-779, Dec 2016

laminaria-9047L.jpg (73310 bytes)

Cerro Solo, Spjut & Marin 9047L, Apr 1985

laminaria-11536.jpg (79913 bytes)

Punta Cono, Spjut &
Marin 11536
, Apr 1990

laminaria-11543.jpg (68418 bytes)

Punta Cono, Spjut & Marin 11543, Apr 1990

niebla_laminaria_10396.jpg (90264 bytes)

Punta María, Spjut 10396,
Mar 1988

Pt. Loma, Cabrillo Natl. Mon., CA.  Bratt 5651

San Nicolas Island,
Timbrook & Kuinzenga  735

California (COLO: S-7344)

Punta Banda, BCN
Spjut & Marin 9032C3
May 1985, Holotype



     Niebla laminaria is a fruticose lichen found along the Pacific Coast of western North America,  mostly in California and sporadically southwards in Baja California to the Northern Vizcaíno Desert region. It is recognized by the lichen substance of divaricatic acid (with triterpenes) and by the thallus divided into relatively few basal branches (<10) that are dark green with ripples, and with transverse cracks and various types of marginal features of spicular, nodular or lobe-like branchlets. This is in contrast to N. eburnea that has a yellowish green smooth cortex, and to N. homalea that is identified by entire branch margins.  In Baja California, N. laminaria is distinguished from related divaricatic-acid N. juncosa and N. undulata by the relatively fewer rigid branches, and by having  a thicker cortex and solid medulla. 

     Thalli of Niebla laminaria show a complex morphological pattern of identifiable features compared to other related species, while they cannot be confidently assigned to other species. Some may resemble N. juncosa, but the cortex is dull and transversely cracked, or others resemble N. undulata except for the cortex being too thick and the medulla solid, or they may resemble N. eburnea in features of the cortex, but lack any definitive shape in development, or they may resemble N. caespitosa, which differs by having broader and more flattened branches with a thinner cortex. The specimen from Pt. Loma is also similar to variants of N. cornea (sekikaic acid) from southern California mainland and Channel Islands. However, the type specimen from Punta Banda, and another specimen from San Nicolas Island, are remarkably similar.