crown, circular head ornament, symbolizing sovereign dignity. (For crowns worn by nobles, see coronet.) The use of the crown as a symbol of royal rank is of ancient tradition in Egypt and the Middle East. In ancient Greece and Rome, however, crowns—sometimes made of leaves—were merely wreaths, awarded to victors in athletic or poetic contests or bestowed on citizens in recognition of an act of public service. The crown as used in medieval and modern times is an elaboration of the diadem and is generally made of metal, often gold inlaid with precious gems. The crown became thoroughly identified with the functions of monarchy, and the term crown is often used in a purely institutional sense, as in crown lands, crown colonies, and crown debt. Among famous crowns of historic interest are the Lombard iron crown, kept at Monza, Italy; the crown of Charlemagne, at Vienna, Austria; and the sacred crown of St. Stephen of Hungary. These are exceptional in that they were used repeatedly over centuries for coronation ceremonies. Most crowns are of recent origin, although the jewels they contain are often taken from older crowns. The ancient crowns of England were destroyed under Oliver Cromwell. There are two crowns used by the British sovereigns: the crown of Edward the Confessor (a much-altered replica of the original crown) is used for the coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, and the imperial state crown is worn on state occasions. Crowns are also worn by the consorts and families of sovereigns. The triple crown of the popes, known as a tiara, dates from the 14th cent. Regardless of their actual shape, crowns are usually represented in heraldry as closed at the top by four arched bars called diadems and surmounted by a globe and a cross. In religion and art, a crown symbolizes sovereignty (Rev. 19.12) and also honor, especially the reward of martyrdom (Heb. 2.9).

Crown-of-thorns starfish

Reddish and heavy-spined starfish (Acanthaster planci) that has 12–19 arms and is often 18 in. (45 cm) across. It feeds on the polyps of coral. Beginning circa 1963, its population on Australia's Great Barrier Reef exploded. Destruction of coral reefs and islands was feared, and intensive efforts were made to kill it off. Since then other outbreaks have been recorded throughout the southern Pacific. The cause of the outbreaks is unknown, but several factors have been proposed, such as the decimation of the starfish's chief predator, the Pacific triton (a marine snail), by shell collectors. Other factors, including the runoff of nutrient-rich soil into reef waters as a result of shorefront development, have also been implicated. Population fluctuations could also be a feature of the starfish's natural ecology, and human influence may alter these cycles.

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Vigorous trailing legume (Coronilla varia), native to the Mediterranean but widely grown in temperate areas as a ground cover. It has fernlike leaves and clusters of white to pink flowers. The sturdy roots are useful in binding the soil of steep slopes and roadside embankments. As a legume, crown vetch draws nitrogen from the air, trapping it in the roots, and thus improves soil fertility. It dies back to the crown each fall in cold areas, resuming growth in spring. Cutting the plant back in the fall or early spring encourages quick growth.

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Ornaments used at the coronation of a monarch and the formal ensigns of monarchy worn or carried on state occasions, as well as collections of personal jewelry consolidated by European sovereigns as valuable assets of their royal houses and the offices they filled. Most familiar are those of Britain, which include St. Edward's Crown, the Royal Sceptre (with the Star of Africa diamond), the Sceptre of Equity and Mercy, and the Sword of Offering, as well as the coronation ring, anointing spoon, ampulla (flask), and coronation bracelets. Many collections of royal jewelry have been assembled, confiscated, and dispersed over the centuries.

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Disease of plants caused by the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. Thousands of plant species are susceptible, including especially rose, grape, pome and stone fruits (e.g., apples, peaches), shade and nut trees, many shrubs and vines, and perennial garden plants. Symptoms include roundish, rough-surfaced galls, several inches or more in diameter. At first cream-coloured or greenish, they later turn brown or black. As the disease progresses, affected plants lose vigour and may eventually die.

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Crown may refer to:


  • Crown, the highest point of a convex structure, such as an arch or a vault.




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