Kalmiopsis leachiana

Kalmiopsis leachiana, a plant discovered in 1930 by Lilla Leech in the Gold Basin area, is a relic of the pre-ice age and the oldest known member of the Heath (Ericaceae) Family. The Kalmiopsis Wilderness was named after this unique endemic shrub.

"I was in the lead where I usually walk…when suddenly I beheld a small patch of beautiful low-growing deep rose colored plants and because of its beauty I started running toward it and dropped to my knees…I had never seen anything so beautiful before."

— Lilla Leach, a pioneering botanist on her discovery in 1930 of the endemic Kalmiopsis leachiana, the oldest living member of the azalea and rhododendron family.

KS Wild works for the protection of our rare ecosystems containing these botanical wonders by monitoring and reporting illegal activities such as ORV use, mining, and trash dumping.  These activities often damage sensitive, botanically rich public areas.