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Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara) essential oil in a clear glass vial

Petitgrain (pronounced [pəti gʁɛ̃]) is an essential oil that is extracted from the leaves and green twigs of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara) via steam distillation.[1] It is also known as petitgrain bigarade.[2]


Petitgrain (Fr.: “little grain”) gains its name from the fact that it used to be extracted from the unripe small green fruits of the plant.


Its main regions of production are Paraguay and France, with the former's product being of higher odour tenacity. The oil has a greenish woody orange smell that is widely used in perfumery and found in colognes. Though distilled from the same botanical species as neroli and bitter orange essential oil, petitgrain bigarade oil possesses its own characteristically unique aroma. The oil is distilled from the leaves and sometimes the twigs and branches of the tree, whereas neroli is distilled from the blossoms and bitter orange oil is typically cold pressed from the rinds of the fruits. Petitgrain mandarin (Petit grain Mandarine) is distilled from leaves and branches of trees producing mandarin fruit.

Chemical composition[edit]

Oil Binominal name Plant Distilled parts Components
Petitgrain bigarade Citrus × aurantium subsp. amara Bitter orange leaves, (twigs, branches) Linalyl acetate(45%), Linalool(20%), β-Pinene(<10%), α-Terpineol(6%), Geranyl acetate(<5%), cis-β-Ocimene(<5%)
Petitgrain mandarin Citrus reticulata Mandarin orange leaves, (twigs, branches) Methyl anthranilate(50%), γ-Terpinene(15%), Limonene(5%), p-Cymene(3%)
Petitgrain citronnier Citrus limon Lemon leaves, (twigs, branches) Limonene, Citral, Geranyl acetate, β-caryophyllene


It is used in perfumery and aromatherapy as fresh-scented essential oils. As of 1923, it was part of the formula for Pepsi-Cola.[3]


  1. ^ Taghadomi-Saberi, Saeedeh; Mas Garcia, Sílvia; Allah Masoumi, Amin; Sadeghi, Morteza; Marco, Santiago (2018-06-13). "Classification of Bitter Orange Essential Oils According to Fruit Ripening Stage by Untargeted Chemical Profiling and Machine Learning". Sensors (Basel, Switzerland). 18 (6): 1922. Bibcode:2018Senso..18.1922T. doi:10.3390/s18061922. ISSN 1424-8220. PMC 6021931. PMID 29899257.
  2. ^ "Petitgrain Bigarade - Organic". Retrieved 2022-05-04.
  3. ^ "Original Pepsi-Cola formula". East Carolina University Digital Collections. April 17, 1923. 1136-s4-b5-fe-i15. Retrieved November 1, 2023.