Niebla suffnessii

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



suffnessii-9965.jpg (57663 bytes)

    Vizcaíno Peninsula, slopes
    of Cerro El Elephante, 
    Spjut 9565, May 1986,
    sekikaic acid  (TLC Oct 1987)

suffnessii-9976D.jpg (82422 bytes)

    Vizcaíno Peninsula, slopes
of Cerro El Elephante,
Spjut 9576D, May 1986,
sekikaic acid  (TLC Sep 1988)

suffnessii-13188.jpg (116052 bytes)

    Mesa between Punta Canoas and Puerto Catarina, Spjut & Marin 13118, Apr 1994, sekikaic acid (TLC Jun 1994, 
    Mar 1995)

    Mesa between Punta
Canoas and Puerto Catarina,
Spjut & Marin 13117,
Apr 1994, sekikaic acid

    Mesa between Punta Canoas 
    and Puerto Catarina, Spjut &
    Marin 13101
, Apr 1994, 
    Sekikaic Acid (TLC Jun 1994, 
    Mar 1995)

    Mesa between Punta
 Canoas and Puerto Catarina, Spjut & Marin 13106,
Apr 1994, sekikaic acid (TLC Jun 1994, 
    Mar 1995)

Vizcaíno Peninsula, Arroyo
San Andrés, Spjut & Marin 10573
Apr 1989; photo on right shows close-up of reticulate ridging on cortex.



Bahía Santa María
vicinity of San Luis,
Spjut & Marin 11355
Apr 1990

    Mesa between Punta Canoas and Puerto
Catarina, Spjut & Marin
, Apr 1994, sekikaic
acid (TLC Jun 1994, Mar 1995)

    Niebla sinuata (Spjut ined.)
Mesa between Punta Canoas 
    and Puerto Catarina, Spjut &
    Marin 13113
, Apr 1994, 
    Sekikaic Acid (TLC Jun 1994, 
    Mar 1995).  Photos taken in field, lab, and close up branches showing
prominent reticulate ridges. Note sinuous longitudinal ridges.


  Niebla sinuata (Spjut ined.)   
Mesa between Punta Canoas 
    and Puerto Catarina, Spjut &
    Marin 13114
, Apr 1994, photo on right—close-up of branches
showing sinuous cortical ridges.


Niebla sinuata (Spjut ined.). Mesa between Punta Canoas and Puerto Catarina, Spjut &
 Marin 13120
, Apr 1994

Niebla suffnessii, map showing geographical occurrences, and another map showing greater detail for site of N. angulata, on Mesa Camacho.

Illustration of TLC Data for Niebla spp.




     Niebla suffnessii  is a lichen that is endemic to Baja California, ranging from the Vizcaíno Peninsula to Mesa Camacho (between Punta Canoas and Puerto Catarina) in Baja California Norte.  It most often occurs on red volcanic rocks of cones and mesas away the immediate coast.   It is generally recognized by having sekikaic acid and numerous hair-like to whip-like branchlets that differ from the primary (basal) branch by the sharply reticulate cortex, although the distinction between the primary branch and the branchlet is often not sharp.

     Several morphs can be recognized by differences in the habit and cortical features. The typical morph (from Cerro Elephante) is much like the type for N. marinii, except for having salazinic acid; it has inflated primary branches that divide numerous times, gradually narrowing while becoming more fringed with short to long whip-like branchlets. The cortex on the inflated portion near base is relatively smooth.  A second morph has more prominent reticulate ridging and less inflated branches. It occurs infrequently on the Vizcaíno Peninsula (Arroyo San Andrés) and more frequently further north.  A third morph, given an unpublished name, N. sinuata, has sharp sinuous cortical ridges; it is known only from Mesa Camacho.

     Niebla suffnessii was first collected in May 1986 on red lava on the Vizcaíno Peninsula at the summit of a volcanic cone, Cerro Elephante, 1,640 ft in elevation, ~ 12 mi north of Bahía Asunción; it was the only Niebla species at this location.  All thalli were characteristically bushy with a pale-yellowish-green, pruinose cortex; all had numerous whip-like branchlets with subterminal-lenticular apothecia, and all were found to contain sekikaic acid.  Further up the road, near Arroyo San Andrés, additional specimens of N. suffnessii were collected in association with other sekikaic-acid species, N. lobulata, N. siphonoloba, and N. usneoides Niebla lobulata, as the epithet implies, is distinguished by the lobulate branchlets, N. siphonoloba, as its epithet implies, by tubular, pipe-like branches that rarely divide, and Niebla usneoides was easily distinguished for its isidiate flagelliform branchlets.   Niebla suffnessii was found to be more variable at this location, appearing to intergrade with all species including N. usneoides.

     Several other sekikaic acid species of Niebla with relatively long narrow branches or branchlets occur further north.   Niebla fimbriata, which is found in the Northern Vizcaíno Desert, north of Punta Canoas and in the Channel Islands, differs by the primary branches producing brittle spine-like side branchlets pointing in the same direction; the branchlets detach easily as evident from bumpy (lobed) branch margins.  Its apothecia are shaped more like a cup instead of a lens, and the cortex is dark green with longitudinal creases, instead of yellowish-green and turgid.  Niebla disrupta, a California endemic, differs in the dichotomously divided primary branches with a smooth glossy cortex, cracking transversely at various internals, and by apothecia that develop more near the base of the thallus.

     On Mesa Camacho and around Bahía María Niebla turgida (divaricatic acid) is similar to N. suffnessii where they seem to occur near each other.   They are easily separated by their lichen substances. Niebla turgida has divaricatic acid and dark pigmentation (skyrin) near the base of the thallus. It also has a reticulate cortex with ±rectangular areoles (not rounded), and more conspicuous pycnidia, appearing slightly larger and more raised by the thalline margin.