This small member of the bellflower family probably received its common name because its seeds resemble the shiny, round seeds of a related European bellflower species. The seeds of this ‘looking glass’ are lens-shaped as well, but too small to appear reflective without magnification.
After reading that the plant flourishes best in gravelly or sandy soil, it made sense that I’d found it along the prairie trail at Brazos Bend State Park. About eight inches tall, its flowers were only a half-inch across; they appear sequentially, with only one blooming at the same time.
Its lovely purple petals are complemented by its white throat and prominent white pistil and stamens. Gazing into its center, I saw only summer loveliness: a fair reward for rising summer heat and mosquitoes.