- We review experimental and theoretical work addressing pattern formation on anisotropic and heterogeneous catalytic surfaces. These systems are typically modeled by reaction-diffusion equations reflecting the kinetics and transport of the involved chemical species. Here, we demonstrate the influence of anisotropy and heterogeneity in a simplified model, the FitzHugh–Nagumo equations. Anisotropy causes stratification of labyrinthine patterns and spiral defect chaos in bistable media. For heterogeneous media, we study the situation where the heterogeneity appears on a length scale shorter than the typical pattern length scale. Homogenization, i.e., computation of effective medium properties, is applied to an example and illustrated with simulations in one (fronts) and two dimensions (spirals). We conclude with a discussion of open questions and promising directions that comprise the coupling of the microscopic structure of the surface to the macroscopic concentration patterns and the fabrication of nanostructures with heterogeneous surfaces as templates.