Niebla limicola

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
April 2003, Oct 2005, Sep 2012
Additions: May 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
, Ramalina and Vermilacinia
Emmanuel Sérusiaux & Richard  Spjut
Baja California, Jan-Feb 2016




SE of Guerrero Negro, near Whale watching center, Jan 2016
Spjut & Sérusiaux 17133
Jan 2016

SE of Guerrero Negro, near Whale watching center, Jan 2016
Spjut & Sérusiaux 17134
Jan 2016

SE of Guerrero Negro, near Whale watching center, Jan 2016
Spjut & Sérusiaux 17130
Jan 2016


limicola-9794.jpg (140648 bytes)

Morro Santo Domingo,
Spjut 9794, May 1986

limicola-11916.jpg (90741 bytes)

Scammon's Lagoon, BCS
Marin & Spjut 11916, Apr 1990

limicola-12690.jpg (35577 bytes)

Guerrero Negro,
Spjut 12690, Apr 1993

Rancho San José
between Punta Canoas
and Punta Blanca, BCN
Spjut & Marin 11396, Apr 1990

Punta Cono, BCN
Spjut & Marin 11539, Apr 1990

Cañón San Vicente
between El Rosario and
Punta San Antonio
Spjut & Marin 12684,


Habitat of the species near Guerrero Negro, BCS
Follmann 34432 (B)
Photo by G. Follmann

Close-up of thallus, near Guerrero Negro,
Follmann 34432 (B)
Photo by G. Follmann

Bahía de San Quintín,
Laguna and peninsula

Spjut & Sérusiaux 17132
Jan 2016


Bahía de San Quintín, BCN
Spjut & Marin 11937, Feb 1991


Geographic Distribution


Illustration of TLC data showing salazinic acid among other chemotypes
 of Niebla



     Niebla limicola is a lichen that is endemic to Baja California, occurring along shores of bays and beaches with salt scrub (Atriplex, Frankenia), and inland on alkali barren soil (devoid of higher plant vegetation), ranging from the Vizcaíno Peninsula to Bahía de San Quintín.  It seems most common on coastal mud or sand in the Southern Vizcaíno Desert, especially near Guerrero Negro where it appears to be the only terricolous Niebla.  It is readily recognized by the regular appearance of short bifurcate branchlets arising along dilated-flattened segments, and by having salazinic acid.  Niebla arenaria is similar in chemistry and habit, but differs by the linear-prismatic branches in contrast to the dilated-flattened branches of N. limicola.  Another similar species, N. effusa (salazinic acid), has spreading fringing branchlets from dilated segments instead of the regular bifurcate branching.  Branches of N. limicola are generally more twisted in contrast to related salazinic-acid species.

    Niebla brachyura, a relatively rare species in the southern region of the Vizcaíno Desert and on Isla Cedros, is sometimes similar in the bifurcate branching but easily distinguished by its lichen substance of hypoprotocetraric acid (as opposed to salazinic acid).

    The geographic occurrence of N. limicola on the northern peninsula of Baja California (Norte) is more spotty than in related species.  As the epithet implies, the thalli are mostly found on alkali silt or mud where there is little other vegetation, including lichens as may be seen in Cañón San Vicente—between El Rosario and Punta Antonio—south of Punta Baja.