Bizzarria (or Bizzarria Orange Tree, Citrus aurantium bizzaria)
The calligraphic images Bimbi carefully painted and Michelini’s notes let us understand how the culture of citrus trees in Tuscany was immensely varied in the late 17th century. This was possible thanks to the cultivation artifices of smart gardeners of the Medici Grand dukes and the nobility.
The teratology and chimerical shapes play a meaningful role in the Bimbi’s iconography and contemporary treatises. They are “playful”, as Micheli stated; Ferrari asserted, “they are the delights in our gardens with their deformity and ABORTO”. The Bizzarria is the most popular chimerical shape. “Its fruits are a mixture of a lemon, a citrus and an orange and they are just as perfect….The plant developed accidentally from a seed in the garden of the Panciatichis, out of Florence in a placed called Torre degli Agli in 1644”.

The gardener of the Panciatichi MARCHESI realized the importance of such event and propagated the plant by grafting. The Bizzarria became popular in Italy and in Europe where the new variety was thought to arise from the capable gardener’s hands.

Pietro Nati (1625-1685) had another opinion. He was a doctor and a naturalist, Cosimo III appointed him prefect of the botanical garden in Pisa. He managed the gardener to confess it was just a spontaneous hybrid he propagated again by grafting.

Today, it is thought Bizzarria should originate from a mutation of the buds.

It is a middle-vigorous plant, fairly assurgent; it has the genetic features of the bitter orange tree, with the relevant fruits and those of the citrus lemon trees though.

Fruits are yellow, orange and green, very bitter, knobby with the morphological features of both species.

Leaves with both ovoid-elliptic plate, winged petiole and narrow and elliptic ones; they can be deformed and curly, with nuances of intense green.