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Medieval Fruit Varieties

Variety: Bergamote d'Automne (1536)

Synonyms: Autumn Bergamot, Autumn Burgamot, Bergamotte d'Automne, Common Bergamot, English Autumn Bergamot, English Bergamot, French Autumn Bergamot, Heere pear, Ruddy English Bergamot, York Bergamot.

Origin of this ancient pear is somewhat obscure. Hedrick comments as follows: 'Benedict Curtius, Florentine author writing in 1536, thought it had birth at Bergamo in Lombardy. But in 1644, Jean Bodaeuse, a Dutch physician, in his translation of the Historia Plantorum of Theophrastus, states that the Bergamote came from Asia, whence the Romans had imported it to Italy and that it was known to them as 'Pirum Regium' or 'Pear of Kings'. If it originated in Asia, the probability is that its birth place was Pergamun, a village of Asia Minor between the Aegean and Morona Seas. This view was accepted in the 18th century by such authorities as Lacour, Manger, Menage and later by Leroy.' While it is probable that certain of the old varieties of pears still extant date back to antiquity, the fact cannot be definitely established because descriptions left by Pliny and other ancient writers are too meager to provide a direct basis of comparison. In the present instance, the name Bergamote could refer to a type of pear rather than to a specific variety. Fruit small in size, true bergamot in form. Skin greenish-yellow in color with numerous small dots. Flesh white, somewhat coarse, buttery, fairly juicy. Sweet, insipid, disagreeable in flavor. Midseason. Tree vigorous, healthy, productive, semi-dwarf on quince, moderately susceptible to blight. -- H. Hartman, Oregon Experiment Station Bulletin, 1957.

Autumn Bergamot. This is rather a small pear, very flat at the blossom end, and diminished towards the stalk end which is also flattened - the stem is short, the skin green with black spots, the flesh is white, juicy and sprightly - the tree is not very vigorous, but produces abundantly; it is in season during the whole month of September. -- W. Coxe, A view of the cultivation of fruit trees, 1817. ]

[Source: Cite as: USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: (15 May 2011) ]