Biographical data


Houttuyn, Martinus


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 8: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement II)


Born: 1720, Hoorn, N.H., Holland. Died: 1798, Amsterdam, Holland.



Physician who took his Dr’s degree at Leiden, and settled at Amsterdam. He was largely interested in botany and devoted his entire energies to natural history.

Author of some botanical works.1 He is commemorated in the genus Houttuynia Thunb.



Sometimes he is cited as the collector of plants from Java, which are preserved in Herb. Leiden [L]. According to Lasègue (Mus. Bot. Deless., 1845) plants of his in Herb. Burman = Herb. Deless. (Geneva [G]). Houttuyn himself never visited Java and it is known that Thunberg (see there)2 and others (Osbeck etc.) forwarded Java plants to him; we may assume that those plants were inserted in Herb. Houttuyn and rightly should be cited ex Herb. Houttuyn.

The presence of sheets which have belonged to the Houttuyn Herbarium has been proved beyond doubt. At least four sheets have been located in the Rijksherbarium Leiden [L], all collected by Thunberg in Java. Hoogland3 commented on the first. At least three others have been found as shown by van Steenis & Veldkamp.4



(1) cf. E.D. Merrill: ‘A critical consideration of Houttuyn’s new genera and new species of plants, 1773-1783’ (Journ. Arn. Arbor. 19, 1938, p. 291-375).

(2) cf. ‘Catalogus van eene uitmuntende verzameling van plantgewassen ... in meer dan dertig jaren vergaderd en in order geschikt door den Heer Martinus Houttuyn ... welk alles in veiling zal worden gebragt, op Maandag en Dinsdag den 30 en 31 Maart 1789 ten zijnen Huize op de Roozegragt to Amsterdam’, p. 12.

(3) R.D. Hoogland: ‘The genus Tetracera (Dilleniaceae) in the Eastern Old World’ (Reinwardtia 2, 1953, 185-224, pl. 1, especially p. 207 and pl. 1).

(4) C.G.G.J. van Steenis & J.F. Veldkamp: ‘Note on Houttuyn’s Herbarium’ (Blumea 21, 1973, p. 151-152, with facsimile handwriting).


biographical data:

Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936 (wrong!); Journ. Arn. Arb. 19, 1918, p. 297-300, incl. bibliogr.; Bijdr. t. d. Dierk. 27, 1939, p. 283; Ned. Kruidk. Arch. 51, 1941, p. 355.