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Citrus ID






Bergamotier, Bergamotto (sec. Cottin 2002)

Cultivar or taxon


Citrus x limon (L.) Osbeck, pro sp. [Bergamot Group] (sec. Mabberley 2004, Bayer et al. 2009); Citrus x bergamia Risso (sec. Hodgson 1967; sec. NPGS/GRIN 2010)



Hodgson (1967) noted that:

"Both the origin of the name and its significance are obscure. It appears to be a hybrid of the sour orange, however, for which reason it has commonly been regarded as a botanical variety of C. aurantium L. Since the differences are numerous and marked and a wide degree of variation is exhibited, separate species standing seems to be justified.

The bergamot has been known in the Mediterranean for several centuries, the distinctive and desirable characteristics of its oil having been recognized as early as 1750. Two kinds were described by Volckamer (1708-14, p. 155) and five by Risso and Poiteau (1818-22). Presumably it originated as a seedling in southern Italy. While there is general agreement that the sour orange has one parent, the other parent is a matter of conjecture. It has usually been assumed that it was the lemon, but Chapot (1962) has presented rather convincing evidence in support of the conclusion that some kind of acid lime was the other parent. In this connection, it may be of interest to note that the distinctive aroma of bergamot oil occurs also in the limettas (C. limetta Risso) of the Mediterranean basin, which are sometimes incorrectly referred to as bergamots."



Crown compact or dense, not weeping. First-year twig surface glabrous; second- or third-year surface striate; thorns straight; prickles absent or not persistent. Petiole glabrous, length short, wings narrow, adjoining the blade. Leaflets one, margin bluntly toothed, shade leaflet blades flat or weakly conduplicate; sun leaflet blades weakly conduplicate. Scent of crushed leaflets spicy or peppery. Fruit as broad as long or longer than broad; rind green-yellow (6), yellow (7-10), yellow-orange (11), or orange (12); rind texture slightly rough (4-5) or medium-rough (6-7); firmness leathery; navel absent; flesh yellow; taste sour.

Hodgson (1967) provided the following additional notes on the fruit:

"The tree is moderately vigorous, upright to spreading in habit, virtually thornless, and with new shoot growth not pink- or purple-tinted. At full maturity it is medium-small to medium in size. The leaves are large and somewhat like the lemon in color, form, and emargination, although the blades are sharper-pointed and the petioles are longer and more broadly winged.

The flower buds and flowers are medium-large and pure white and there is but one bloom. The lemon-yellow-colored fruits are small to medium-large, oblate, round obovate or broadly pyriform, frequently possess a small navel, and usually have a persistent style. The rind is medium-thin with a smooth to moderately rough surface, commonly ridged, and adherent. The segments are numerous and the core solid. The flesh is moderately firm, pale greenish-yellow, and highly acid with a faint bitter aftertaste. The highly monoembryonic seeds, comparatively few and sometimes none, often are not well developed. The cotyledons are white or faintly green.

A distinctive characteristic of both foliage and fruits is the strongly pungent and agreeably aromatic oil, which is similar to that of the sour orange leaf, though the rind oil of the latter is different."



Bayer, R.J., D.J. Mabberley, C. Morton, C.H. Miller, I.K. Sharma, B.E. Pfeil, S. Rich, R. Hitchcock, and S. Sykes. 2009. A molecular phylogeny of the orange subfamily (Rutaceae: Aurantioideae) using nine cpDNA sequences. American Journal of Botany 96: 668–685.

Chapot, H. 1962a. Le bergamotier. Al Awamia [Rabat] 5: 1–27.

Cottin, R. 2002. Citrus of the World: A citrus directory. Version 2.0. France: SRA INRA-CIRAD.

Hodgson, R.W. 1967. Horticultural varieties of Citrus. In: Reuther, W., H.J. Webber, and L.D. Batchelor (eds.). The Citrus industry, rev. University of California Press.

Mabberley, D.J. 2004. Citrus (Rutaceae): A review of recent advances in etymology, systematics and medical applications. Blumea 49: 481–498.



Search for this cultivar in NCBI Entrez or NCBI Nucleotide

Additional information on this cultivar at University of California: Riverside Citrus Variety Collection


Citrus ID Edition 2
October, 2011