One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A large spiky starfish of the tropical Indo-Pacific, feeding on coral and sometimes causing great damage to reefs.
Acanthaster planci, class Asteroidea
- ‘They could have chosen the ugly and destructive crown of thorns starfish instead.’
- ‘I'm a film maker, I've been diving the reef for 37 years now and the last 18 months I've spent a lot of time on it filming crown of thorns.’
- ‘Nudibranchs dotted the undersides of the coral and a spiny crown of thorns sea star moved slowly underneath a plate coral.’
- ‘It looks an impossible job when a soft-bellied gastropod like the triton tries to demolish a spiky crown of thorns starfish.’
- ‘The crown of thorns starfish, one of the largest of the sea star group, measures approximately 45 cm across its seven to seventeen arms.’
2A Madagascan shrub of the spurge family, with bright red flowers and many slender thorns. It is a popular houseplant and is sometimes used for hedging in the tropics.
Euphorbia milii, family EuphorbiaceaeAlso called Christ's thorn
- ‘Hat rack cactii and pencil bush are both euphorbias, as is crown of thorns, so I'd consult a doctor about those, too.’
- 2.1 Any of a number of thorny plants, especially Christ's thorn (Ziziphus spina-christi ).
- ‘The evergreen holly was worshiped as a promise of the sun's return, and some say that Christ's crown of thorns was made of holly.’
- ‘In medieval times it was the belief that Jesus crown of thorns was blackberry brambles.’
- ‘Some believers think the crown of thorns was made of this type of tumbleweed.’
By association with Christ's crown of thorns.
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