Botanist's Glossary

Bergamot - Citrus bergamia

  • Description
    • This evergreen, spiny shrub bears greenish or golden yellow fruits, often pear-shaped, tipped with a long persistent style. It is probably a hybrid of the bitter orange tree and lime tree and first appeared around the 15th century in Calabria, Italy, which continues to be the main growing region today.
  • Traditions
    • Bergamot essence varies according to its origin (Calabria being the favorite) and is the well-known scent of Earl Grey tea. "Bergamot boxes" are representative of 18th century popular art from the region of Grasse. They were made from bergamot rind, covered with a light cardboard skin, then painted with motifs and varnished. Women loved these precious, very fragrant containers, which would adorn boudoirs and dressing tables.
  • Properties
    • Bergamot essential oil is greatly valued in perfumery for its fresh and delicate scent. In aromatherapy, it has sedative and anti-inflammatory properties.