from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An arrangement of five objects in a square, one at each corner and one in the middle; especially, an arrangement, as of trees, in such squares continuously.
- n. In botany, same as quincuncial estivation.
- n. In astrology, the position of planets when distant from each other five signs or 150°.
- n. A Roman brass coin of five unciæ.
- n. A reliquary in the shape of a cross, the four parts of which can be folded over the central one.
Others plant them in form of a quincunx, which is better for the hop, and will do very well where your ground is but small that you may overcome it with either the breast plough or spade.
The Rings of Saturn reproduces a page from Browne's The Garden of Cyrus where Browne explores the mysteries of the quincunx — a five-point pattern which Browne detected everywhere and which, he enjoyed thinking, could easily be the numerical coding behind all creation.
Of course it would have been no use attempting to instruct Lubin in the cryptic properties of the quincunx, or any other theories of garden arrangement propounded by Sir Thomas Browne.
In Latin this word means ‘five twelfths.’