Niebla josecuervoi

The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
April 2003, Oct. 2005, Sep 2012
Additions May 2017, Nov 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
, Ramalina and Vermilacinia
Emmanuel Sérusiaux & Richard  Spjut
Baja California, Jan-Feb 2016

Spjut R, Simon A, Guissard M, Magain N, Sérusiaux E. 2020. The fruticose genera in the Ramalinaceae (Ascomycota, Lecanoromycetes): their diversity and evolutionary history.  MycoKeys. 73: 1–68. published online.
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.

See also Niebla for phylogeography of the genus



Rocky mesa along road to Punta Baja, 140 m, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17086, Jan 2016


Laguna and peninsula
southwest of
San Quintín, 30 m,
Spjut & Sérusiaux 17053
Jan 2016


Morro Santo Domingo,
on lava of volcanic slope,
110–130 m, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17274, Jan 2016

Southwest of San Quintín, on volcanic slopes of Volcan Sudoeste, 40 m,  Leavitt et al. 16-765, Dec 2016. Vicinity of type local.


Southwest of San Quintín in the Punta Mazo Reserve, on volcanic slopes of Volcan Sudoeste, 80 m,  Leavitt et al. 16-718, Dec 2016. Vicinity of type locality.



  Along road to Punta Catarina, ca. 2 km inland from coast, on silty flat, 45 m,  Leavitt et al. 16-1045, Dec 2016


Southwest of San Quintín in the Punta Mazo Reserve, on volcanic slopes of Volcan Sudoeste,  Leavitt et al. 16-907, 10 m,  Dec 2016. Vicinity of Type Locality

Laguna and peninsula
southwest of
San Quintín, 40 m,
Spjut & Sérusiaux 17064
Jan 2016

Along road to Punta Baja on sandy, wind-swept ridgeline,
80 m,  Leavitt et al. 16-1014, Dec 2016


Mesa above San Antonio
del Mar, 92 m, on soil among
low succulent and spiny shrubs <  1 m high, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17017, Jan 2016

Mesa above San Antonio
del Mar, 92 m, on soil among
low succulent and spiny shrubs <  1 m high, Spjut & Sérusiaux 17014, Jan 2016


Southwest of San Quintín in the Punta Mazo Reserve, on volcanic slopes of Volcan Sudoeste,  10m, Leavitt et al. 16-720, Dec 2016. Vicinity of Type Locality

josecuervoi-9047.jpg (124475 bytes)

Cerro Solo, Spjut & Marin 9047J, Apr 1985

josecuervoi-10281A.jpg (125549 bytes)

SW of El Rosario,
Spjut 10281A, Mar 1988

josecuervoi-11297.jpg (270116 bytes)

Punta Canoas,
Spjut 11297, Apr 1990

Bahía de San Quintín, BCN
rocks along beach,
Spjut 9328, May 1986

Just W of San Andrés Ranch,
N-facing steep rocky cliffs,
Spjut 9889B, May 1986

Ridge S of El Marrón,
Spjut 9961
May 1986

Mesa above Punta Baja,
Spjut 10258, Mar 1988

Ridge above Punta Rocosa,
Spjut 10349, Mar 1988

 Punta Blanca,
Spjut & Marin 11455
Apr 1990

Ridge above Punta Rocosa,
Spjut 10345, Mar 1988

Puerta Catarina, Spjut 13103,
Apr 1994

Bahía Santa María,
Spjut & Marin 11572
Apr 1990

Mesa above San Antonio
del Mar,
Spjut 11178, Apr 1990

Illustration of TLC Data
for Niebla spp. ITS Phylogeny for N. josecuervoi

Geographical Distribution



     Niebla josecuervoi is a fruticose lichen  endemic to the Baja California peninsula along the Pacific Coast, occurring  on rocks, occasionally terricolous, from the Northern Vizcaíno Desert (NVD) north into the Chaparral Desert Transition (CDT—between El Rosario and Campo Nuevo), documented by specimens collected from Punta Rocosa north to Ejido Erendira. 

     Unlike Niebla arenaria that occasionally forms a single dominant Niebla community, N. josecuervoi is usually a member of a multi-species Niebla community.  In its northern range, such as in the coastal chaparral region between San Quintín and San Vicente, it occurs on rocks with N. fimbriata (sekikaic acid).  Around Bahía de San Quintín it is commonly associated with N. homalea (divaricatic acid), N. eburnea (divaricatic acid) and N. juncosa var. spinulifera (divaricatic acid)In the CDT southwest of El Rosario, terricolous forms grow on lava mesas in association with N. effusa (salazinic acid), N. arenaria (salazinic acid), and N. juncosa var. spinulifera.  In the NVD, it is saxicolous, primarily with N. turgida (divaricatic acid) on Mesa Santa Catarina and along beaches with N. flabellata (salazinic acid). Further south, it is associated with numerous species of Niebla,  especially in a highly diverse Niebla community on Mesa Camacho.

     South of Punta Rocosa, N. josecuervoi is replaced by N. marinii (salazinic acid) as seen at Morro Santo Domingo where N. marinii is notably dominant in a Niebla community that included N. lobulata and N. juncosa var. juncosa within a higher plant community of Joshua tree woodland of Yucca vallida; however, intermediate forms are evident by specimens having a shiny smooth cortex with the typical fragmentation  branchlets, in contrast to the rough cortex of N. josecuervoi.  Both species were named after field assistants, José Cuervo, also a well-known name for a brand of Tequila, and Richard Marin.

     Niebla josecuervoi is distinguished by having salazinic acid and by producing numerous fragmentation branchlets, pectinately arranged (comb-like) along a main basal branch, frequently bifurcate near apex.   Apothecia usually develop on the spinuliferous (fragmentation) branchlets. Most thalli bear  apothecia (>90%, Spjut 1996) in contrast to the terricolous N. effusa (salazinic acid) with less frequent apothecia (~66%, Spjut 1996) and with the fragmentation branchlets confined more to an apical dilated branch.  Another related salazinic-acid species, N. arenaria, in which apothecia are rarely present, has relatively short bifurcate spine-like (acicular) branchlets.  Occasionally, fragmentation branchlets are not evident in N. josecuervoi, the species then recognized by the linear-like branches with a rough reticulated cortex,

      Niebla josecuervoi is morphologically similar to N. fimbriata (sekikaic acid), N. turgida (divaricatic acid), N. juncosa (divaricatic acid, and  N. pulchribarbara (protocetraric acid). They are easily identified by their lichen substances.  Other salazinic acid species such as N. marinii and N. angulata (Spjut ined.) are identified by the lack of fragmentation branchlets; their basal branches mostly divide dichotomously into equal branch segments.  Another salazinic-acid species, N. flabellata, differs by the thallus divided into small tufts of flattened lacerated branches.

    An ITS phylogenetic tree (draft, unpublished) combining data from Spjut et al. (2020) and (Jorna et al. 2021, Leavitt comm.) shows Niebla josecuervoi in two or three clades including specimens from the type locality (nr San Quintín, Volcan Sudoeste) where one clade appears sister to the N. spatulata complex on the Vizcaíno Peninsula.  Spjut et al. (2020) in a BPP analysis of five specimens of N. josecuervoi (sensu Spjut 1996) determined that they represent four species, overlapping with undetermined character traits for other depsidone species. Jorna et al. (2021), employing numerous loci resulting from high-throughput sequencing could recognize nine depsidone species from a BPP analysis as also by Spjut et al. (2020) based on six loci, while both studies also found that as few as three species may be represented employing other analytical methods.  Although  the depsidone clade would appear of more recent derivation as related to its endemism to the NVD and CDT, N. josecuervoi still includes cryptic species and shows disjunct phylogeographic relationships seen in the more widely distributed depside clades.  

     The type specimen for N. josecuervoi was reported in the private herbarium of Rundel (Rundel et al. 1972), while a later report by the University of California at Los Angeles (LA) mentioned the Rundel lichen collections at LA were transferred to RAMK in 2007.

Additional References: See Niebla