On June 29, with my collecting permit about to expire, I went one more time to visit those two stands of irises near the Marsden Tract*, and collected two more seed capsules. Took ’em home, opened ’em up, photographed, measured, examined with hand lens, etc.
And got nowhere. The seeds just weren’t ripe enough.
My gut feeling is that stand 1 is Iris virginica and stand 2 is Iris versicolor, based on the observed characteristics. The former is on the state DNR watchlist (S3), and there are records of it in Montgomery County, so this is not too far-fetched.
But I like proof, and I haven’t proven anything, except that I’m a little nuts, so I am going to conclude that both stands are probably Iris versicolor, because it’s the more common species.
However… this ain’t over yet.
*see posts from mid May into June