Martius Pharmacognostic Collection

Martius Pharmacognostic Collection

Rows of ingredients used to make medications (image: Georg Pöhlein)

Rows of ingredients used to make medications (image: Georg Pöhlein)

The Martius Pharmacognostic Collection is named after its founder, court pharmacist and pharmacy lecturer Ernst Wilhelm Martius, and was established in 1818 for teaching purposes.

Over the following decades, Martius’s son Theodor Wilhelm Christian expanded the collection, making it one of the most comprehensive in Europe. His older brother, the famous botanist and researcher Carl Martius, who spent time working in Brazil, added drugs from South America. When the University acquired the collection in 1862, it was an important element that led to the foundation of its institute of pharmacy in 1865.

The Martius Pharmacognostic Collection is now home to 2400 objects, most of which are still in their original containers and in excellent condition. It provides an almost complete overview of the raw plant, animal and mineral materials that were used to create medications in the 18th and 19th centuries. The majority of the artefacts come from tropical regions and were obtained by Martius through purchases or swaps. The collection also includes almost all healing plants found in Europe, stored as roots, fruits or leaves.

It has been fully documented and is available for use in research.

Go to collection website (in German)


Lehrstuhl für Pharmazeutische Chemie
Schuhstr. 19
91052 Erlangen


Prof. Dr. Peter Gmeiner
+49 9131 8524116

Tours available upon request