On December 15, 1868, Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794-1868), professor of botany at the University of Munich and director of the Royal Botanic Garden, was carried to the tomb in a coffin covered with freshly cut palm leaves. The fronds were a nod to the natural history of palm trees: a work in three volumes, an exceptional work published between 1823 and 1853.
This encyclopedic treasure made up of 240 exquisite chromolithographic illustrations was inspired by Martius' expeditions in Brazil and Peru. Between 1817 and 1820 he traveled, along with the zoologist Johann Baptist von Spix, more than 2,250 km through the Amazon basin to investigate natural history and native tribes.
The result was a unique catalog of all the known genres of the palm tree family that includes the modern classification of these trees, the description of the autochthonous specimens from Brazil and the first biogeographic maps of the palms. Martius' book marks the difference for the inclusion of cross-sectional diagrams that allow us to admire the architecture of these powerful trees that the Central Europeans would have so hard to imagine. Also noteworthy are the landscapes in color in which several palm trees stand out; solitary at times, endowed with a simple and elegant beauty.