yes! / by mrm

"In the early eighteenth century, when nearly all German princes were growing oranges in their palaces, Johannes Volckamer, of Nuremberg, in his Neurenbergische Hersperiden, described how women could cause whole trees to die.  'Many will deride this as something foolish,' says Volckamer, 'and I myself should not have believed it had it not caused the undoing of some of my most valuable trees.  Once, in winter, I noticed a woman of my gardener's household seated upon a beautiful orange tree in full bloom.  The next day, the tree started drying up from the top downwards, and so rapid was the progress of the disease that in the course of a few days it had infected every single branch, causing all the leaves to wilt and die.'
Later writers have guessed that Volckamer was ignorant of the effects of frost. My own belief is that science erases what was previously true. The earth was the center of the universe until Copernicus rearranged it. Life did begin in Eden before Darwin restyled it. In the early eighteenth century in Nuremberg, a woman did sit in the branches of an orange tree and kill it to the ground."
                  - John McPhee, Oranges