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COA learns wildflowers with Ted Elliman 

By Lauren Schiavone
Hometown Weekly Reporter

On Monday, March 6, the Sherborn COA began the first of two lifetime learning courses on the topic of native wildflowers. Lifetime learning seniors shook off the winter doldrums with a sunny day and good company. 

Seniors settled in as director Gallant set up a monitor for the presentation. Instructor Ted Elliman previously worked as a botanist and invasive species program manager at the Native Plant Trust in Framingham. Still a botany and ecology teacher, Elliman enlightened seniors on forest types of Massachusetts. Elliman alerted that native trilliums reside in the Appalachian-Hemlock Northern Hardwood forest. Maple, beech, birch, pine, and hemlock plants are typical forest types in Eastern Mass. 

With notebooks in hand, many took notes and asked questions. Elliman elaborated on species endangerment level, invasive species, and interesting local factoids. One in particular, everyone was delighted to learn. Regarding huckleberries, Elliman informed, “The leaves are colored with yellow resin dots. If you pick up a leaf and put it on your shirt it’ll stick!”
Similarly, Elliman said of the Massachusetts state flower, the trailing arbutus, also known as the mayflower, “It likes sandy soil. It’ll grow well on the Cape. It likes rocky soil. It has a beautiful fragrance, too.” Seniors filled their notebooks and raised their hands to share stories or ask for tips to spot the wildflowers this spring. 

Elliman and seniors agreed The Barbara Reservation and Rocky Narrows would be ideal spots for embarking on a wildflower journey. Spring blooming wildflowers like Soloman’s seal and False Solomons seal in the wildflower family can be differentiated with a close eye. The spring has gotten even more beautiful as seniors take time to appreciate nature with the Sherborn COA. For more programs, visit online at 

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