Bergamot sour orange hybrid
Citrus bergamia Risso
Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia
VI 420 (No longer available)
Photos by David Karp and Toni Siebert, CVC, 3/3/2008 . Photo rights.
Source: Received as budwood from from University of California, Los Angeles, in 1951.
Parentage/origins: Bergamot is thought to be a hybrid of sour orange and citron or lemon. Bergamot has been known in the Mediterranean for several centuries and described as early as 1708.
Rootstocks of accession: Yuma Ponderosa lemon
Season of ripeness at Riverside: The season of maturity is late winter.
Notes and observations:
1986, EMN: This is true Bergamot. This accession had exocortis which was removed by shoot tip grafting.
OJB: The tree is small to medium at maturity, thornless, and somewhat spreading in habit. The fruit is medium in size and variable in shape with obovoid most commonly occurring form. The yellow rind has a slightly rough texture and a distinctive rind oil. This oil is used commercially to flavor Earl Grey tea and as a component in perfumes, with Italy producing the majority of the world's supply. The fruits contain few seeds and are monoembryonic in nature. The flesh is pale yellow, acidic, and has a moderate juice content. There are several named clones of Bergamot grown in Italy, namely, Castagnaro, Fantastico, and Femminello.
3/3/2008 DK & TS: Fruit mostly round, with a little bit of a neck, and a nipple; heavily aromatic, perfumy; rind thin, smooth; flesh very sour.
Description from The Citrus Industry Vol. 1 (1967):
"While the distinctive fruit of the bergamot (bergamotto of Italy, bergamote of France) is sometimes referred to as an orange, its resemblances to the oranges are so remote or lacking that it seems best to employ the European usage. 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.
Availability: No longer commercially available in California. This accession no longer has an approved budsource. Please refer to the CCPP for information on another approved budsource or to start a reintroduction inquiry.
Chapot, H. 1948. Mission au Maroc. Inst. des Fruits et Agrumes Coloniaux [Paris]. Rap. Ann. 1962. Le bergamotier. Al Awamia [Rabat] 5: 1-27.
Risso, J.A. and A. Poieau. 1818-22. Histoire naturelle des orangers. Audot, Paris. pp 280.
Volkamer, J.C. 1708-14. Nurnbergische Hesperides oder Gruendliche Beschreibung der edlen Citronat-Citronen und Pomeranzen-Fruchte. Nurnberg. Vol 2.
"Italian bergamot culture: production and processing".La bergamotticoltura italiana: produzione e trasformazione industriale. Giacomo, E. di. Rivista di Frutticoltura e di Ortofloricoltura. Vol 61. 1. pgs. 27-32. Pub.1999.
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