|Terraciano in Atti Inst. Torino, ser. 5, vol. 1 5, 4D: 7 );|
| Standards bright red-purple (RHS Violet Group 83a or83b), The falls similar in color but overlaid with a almost black iridescence, such that they appear darker than the standards (darker than RHS Purple Group 79a), but fading at the very edge of the falls to the color of the standards. The conical flower is about 35 mm (1 ½") in radius looking down at the flower and approximately 10 cm (4") in height looking from the side. The standards are domed, slightly twisted and not open at the top, while the falls hang down at first, then as the flower matures, reflex backward resulting in the blades of the falls tightly clasping the stalk. The falls are decorated with a snow-white beard, tipped yellow on the hairs, which are deeper into the throat. On the part of the beard thrust into the light, the yellow tips fade to white. The haft of each fall is narrow and with a white ground between the broad, purple veins. This white background extends almost to the end of the beard with a broad purple vein outlining the beard. The style arms are white towards the sides but darkening into a purple midrib and purple, sharply acute, triangular style crests rise 15 mm.(5/8") above the stigmatic lip.
The pollen is white. The stalk is about 40 cm (16") tall to the top of the terminal flower in bloom on cultivated plants. In the native habitat atop Mount Gennaro the plant probably never reach 25 cm (10").
Cultivated plants show two branches; one coming at the bottom third of the stem,and the next around the top third of the stem. Since branching below the top half of the stem is a trait normally associated with Iris aphylla, it is understandable why many authors have considered this as a form of that species. A vigorous stalk could have a total of six flowers. Each flower is subtended by two bracts or spathe valves. These are green shaded purple towards their edges and drying only slightly from the tip at time of flowering. The inner valve is rounded while the outer valve starts with an angular keel about halfway back from the tip but becoming rounded by bloom time. While plants growing in the wild appear like miniature dwarf iris in size, cultivated plants although taller continue to present themselves well with flowers well above the foliage. The longest leaves at flowering are 23 cm (9 ½") long and 35 mm (1 ½") at heir widest point. The stout rhizome separates the bloom stalk adequately to display the flowers well. The leaves are a glaucous, light green.
Iris sabina blooms here in St. Louis at the same time as the tall-bearded iris. Colasante & Sauer (1993); noted that its later bloom season in Italy isolates it from another indigenous Iris having 40 chromosomes, Iris lutescens.
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