Genetic research into the ancestral origins of extant citrus cultivars found bergamot orange to be a probable hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. Extracts have been used as an aromatic ingredient in food, tea, snus, perfumes, and cosmetics. Use on the skin can increase photosensitivity, resulting in greater damage from sun exposure.
Citrus bergamia is commonly confused with Citrus hystrix, which is often called the Thai Bergamot. The citrux hystrix looks distinctively different and is used to advertise products based on citrus bergamia.