A small evergreen, thorny tree up to 10 m high. The flowers are large and white and the fruit is globose, often bright orange-red when ripe. The fruit, leaves, and flowers yield a volatile bigarade oil used in flavoring, liqueurs, perfumes, and medicines.
The tree ranges in height from less than 3m to 10m, is more erect, and has a more compact crown than the sweet orange. It has smooth, brown bark, green twigs, angular when young, and flexible, not very sharp.
The evergreen leaves are aromatic, alternate, on broad-winged petioles much longer than those of the sweet orange; usually ovulate with a short point at the apex, minutely toothed, dark-green above, pale beneath and dotted with tiny oil glands. The highly fragrant flowers, borne singly or in small clusters in the leaf axils. The fruit is round, oblate or oblong-oval, 2 3/4 to 3 1/8 in (7-8 cm) wide, rough-surfaced, with a fairly thick, aromatic, bitter peel becoming bright reddish-orange on maturity and having minute, sunken oil glands.