Niebla spatulata

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
Jan. 2004, Oct. 2005, Sep 2012
Addition May 2017


Niebla and Vermilacinia (Ramalinaceae) from California and Baja California.  
Spjut, R.W., 1996. ISSN 0833-1475, 208 pp.  
Sida, Botanica 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


W of Bahia de Tortugas, towards Punta Eugenia, N 27°44.969 W 114°56.690, 140-160 m.
Spjut & Sérusiaux 17203e, Jan 2016

Vizcaíno Peninsula, Sierra Hornitos, Spjut 9704A, May 1986

Isla Cedros, Spjut & Marin, Apr 1989


7 mi S of Rosarito along Hwy 1, Spjut 10511, Apr 1989


Map showing collection sites

Illustration of TLC data for species of Niebla




     Niebla spatulata is a species of lichen that is endemic to Baja California where known from three locations: (1-type) Sierra Hornitos on the Vizcaíno Peninsula, (2) Isla Cedros, and (3) near El Tomatal.  It is recognized by the thallus divided into small tufts of flattened branches that towards the apex become dilated, lacerated and fringed with branchlets, and by having hypoprotocetraric acid (with unknowns, but not terpenes or consalazinic acid).  It occurs with N. flabellata, easily distinguished by the lichen substance salazinic acid. Niebla spatulata may also differ by terminal apothecia on narrow thread-like branchlets, in contrast to marginal to subterminal apothecia in N. flabellata, but the number of specimens studied of N. spatulata are relatively few to confidently rely on this character attribute for identificationThe close association between the two species might indicate that they are sibling species in which N. spatulata may have evolved only recently but has yet to become geographically or ecologically differentiated; however, N. spatulata is geographically separated from other terpenoid deficient species: N homaleoides, N. brachyura, and N. pulchribarbara.  One other hypoprotocetraric acid species, N. brachyura, which differs by the having prismatic branches with a thicker cortex, commonly occurs with N. arenaria, N. caespitosa, N. flagelliforma, and N. flabellata.