Niebla undulata

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

Additional Discussion: See: Introduction to Niebla and its phylogeography



Road to Punta Baja south of El Rosario; 30°00'075, 115°45.965, 140 m. Low  maritime scrub
      primarily with Ambrosia chenopodiifolia, Aesculus parryi, Euphorbia misera,
      Frankenia palmeri,
Mammillaria dioica, Stenocereus. Sérusiaux 17084-4724, Jan 2016


South of El Rosario along road to Punta Baja, on sandy, wind-swept ridgeline. Leavitt et al. 16-1013, Dec 2016


Road to Punta Baja south of El Rosario; 30°00'075, 115°45.965, 140 m. Sérusiaux 17076-4719, Jan 2016

W of Bahía de Tortugas, towards Punta Eugenia, N 27°43.754, W 114°55.606, 40 m, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17225, Jan 2016

Southwest of San Quintín in the Punta Mazo Reserve, on volcanic slopes of Volcan Sudoeste, Leavitt et al. 16-749, Dec 2016

N of Guerrero Negro, Punta Santo Domingo, N 28°14.469 W, 114°05.763, 25 m. Spjut & Sérusiaux 17285, Jan 2016

undulata-9785B.jpg (178742 bytes)

Morro Santo Domingo, Spjut 9785, May 1986

undulata-10321.jpg (99510 bytes)

Vicinity of Punta Rocosa
Spjut 10321, Mar 1988

undulata-13023.jpg (53487 bytes)undulata-13023B.jpg (70558 bytes)

Slopes above Puerto Catarina, Spjut & Marin 13023, Apr 1994


undulata-12682.jpg (111762 bytes)

Cañon San Vicente, Spjut & Marin 12682, Mar 1993

undulata-10016-isotype.jpg (61260 bytes)

Krutsio Ranch
Spjut 100016, isotype

undulata-12699.jpg (97534 bytes)

SW of El Rosario along road
to Punta San Antonio
Spjut & 12699, Mar 1993

Slopes above Puerto Catarina, Spjut & Marin 13022, Apr 1994

Slopes above Puerto Catarina,
 Spjut & Marin 13023, Apr 1994

Slopes above Puerto Catarina,
 Spjut & Marin 13133, Apr 1994

Slopes above Puerto Catarina, occurring with N. turgida, Spjut & Marin 13014-15, Apr 1994

Just south of Campo Nuevo,
Spjut & Marin 12739, Apr 1993

Pebble slopes S of Puerto Catarina.  Spjut & Marin 13047, 13048.  Apr 1994


      Niebla undulata is a fruticose lichen often found on pebbles and boulders along beaches and on mesas in the Northern Vizcaíno Desert of Baja California, and also occurs on Santa Cruz Island in California.  It is identified by the lichen substance of divaricatic acid (with triterpenes), by the broad undulating contorted lobes arising from a shorter tubular basal branch, and by the cortical surface appearing smooth and recessed between the ridges.  The cortical ridges are oriented longitudinally near apex, which seems related to the twisted branches.  

     Its closest relative, Niebla podetiaforma, shares the character attributes of divaricatic acid and the small clumps of fistulose branches that arise from a pigmented holdfast, but differs in the  prominently and finely reticulate cortex in which the ridges are transversely oriented, and by the cortical surface appearing more inflated (bulging) between ridges.

     The undulate lobes and aggregate apothecia (when present) of N. undulata are seen in N. sorocarpia, distinguished by the larger thallus in which the tubular basal branches appear longer than the upper contorted branches.  Niebla lobulata, another similar species, differs in having sekikaic acid.

     Niebla undulata is variable in habit as shown above.  The branches may lie on the ground, or they may be erect, or they may spread at wide angles from the base.  They are often irregular in shape, but occasionally appear bladelike as seen above in the image Spjut & Marin 13047

     Species delimitation analyses of four specimens of Niebla undulata in Spjut et al (2020) indicated three species, presumably from three different locations.  The type was collected on coastal ridges between Punta Rocosa and Punta Negra.

Additional References: See Niebla