I answered my own question--there is a very good
photo of Kochii (under "k" in Quick Fix section of the HIPS site), and the
notation to the side mentions it was collected in Italy in the late 1800's. The
photo of the individual flower does not begin to suggest the purple glow of an
established clump in bloom, however.
The intensity of the color suggests there was
something different from the *pallida*-*variegata* hybrid stock or the
mediterranean tetraploids mixed into its ancestry--one would suspect the
balkan dwarfs and *aphylla* to be involved, despite the height of Kochii itself.
I wonder if the Etruscans or Romans collected and
moved irises around--they certainly would have had access to *aphylla* in the
wild out in the remote eastern European colonies, let alone the tetraploids
growing in the eastern part of the Empire, and could have deliberately or
accidentally contributed to the development of very dark purples among the IB
Neil Mogensen z 7 western
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