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Any of several North American perennial plants of the mint family, also known as bee balm, fragrant balm, and Indian's plume. The leaves are used as an herb to flavour tea, punches, lemonade, and other cold drinks. Monarda didyma, native to the U.S., is made into Oswego tea, a beverage used by the American Indian Oswego tribe and said to be the drink adopted by the 18th-century colonists during their boycott of British tea. The pear-shaped fruit of the bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia), found chiefly in Calabria, Italy, is valued by the flavouring and perfume industries for the essential oil extracted from its peel. The bergamot pear, a popular winter pear cultivated in Britain, is a large, round fruit with yellowish green skin.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on bergamot, visit Britannica.com.