One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Zoology. Any of various echinoderms with multiply-branched arms, especially basket stars such as Gorgonocephalus; (formerly also) †the crinoid Cenocrinus asteria (formerly known as Pentacrinus caputmedusae) (obsolete).
2A South African spurge, Euphorbia caput-medusae, with many long intertwining stems.
Mid 16th century (in an earlier sense). From the genitive of Medusa + head.
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