Eduard Friedrich Poeppig

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Eduard Friedrich Poeppig.

Eduard Friedrich Poeppig (16 July 1798 – 4 September 1868) was a German botanist, zoologist and explorer.


He was born in Plauen, Saxony. He studied medicine and natural history at the University of Leipzig, graduating with a medical degree. On graduation, the rector of the university gave him a botanical mission to North and South America. He worked in Cuba (1823–24) and Pennsylvania (1824–26). In 1826 he departed for Valparaiso, Chile, and spent several years performing scientific exploration throughout Chile, Peru and Brazil. In the latter part of 1832, he returned to Germany with significant zoological and botanical collections. The following year, he became an associate professor at the University of Leipzig, where he remained until his death. He contributed to the establishment of a scientific museum in Leipzig, and bequeathed to it his collections.

In South America he described over 4,000 plant species. He also investigated Incan ruins, and travelled the length of the Amazon River by raft and canoe. He was only the third European to make the entire 5,000 kilometer river journey; the first two being explorer Francisco de Orellana (1542) and geographer Charles Marie de La Condamine (1744).

The plant genus Poeppigia is named after him, as is the Silvery Woolly Monkey, (Lagothrix poeppigii), and the orchid Campylocentrum poeppigii (Rchb. f.) Rolfe, and the angiosperm species Guatteria poeppigiana Mart..[1]

Written works[edit]

  • Fragmentum synopseos plantarum phanerogamarum, (1833)
  • Selbstanzeige der Reisebeschreibung in Blätter für literarische Unterhaltung, (1835)
  • Reise in Chile, Peru und auf dem Amazonenstrome während der Jahre 1827-1832, (1834–36)
  • Nova genera ac species plantarum, quas in regno Chilensi Peruviano et in terra Amazonica: annis MDCCCXXVII ad MDCCCXXXII (with Stephan Ladislaus Endlicher); (1835–45)
  • Reise nach den Vereinigten Staaten (1837)
  • Über alte und neue Handelswege nach der Westküste Amerikas, (On old and new trade routes to the west coast of the Americas; 1838)
  • Landschaftliche Ansichten und erlauternde Darstellungen (Views of countryside with explanation; 1839)

Poeppig also wrote most of the American articles for the Allgemeine Encyclopaedie, edited by Ersch and Gruber.



  • Urban, Ignaz. Notae biographicae, Symb. Antill. 3:103,1900.