The aim of this review is to discuss our knowledge on molecules in the circumstellar environment of evolved stars. In particular the presence and the behaviour of various kinds of molecules with several or many carbon atoms, in relation to C-rich dust, is considered.
Such objects include mainly: (i) circumstellar shells of AGB carbon stars, either visible (such as Y CVn) or infrared (such as IRC+10216 (CW Leo)); (ii) planetary nebulae (PNe, e.g. NGC 7027); (iii) pre-planetary nebulae (PPNe, also called post-AGB stars, such as CRL 2688 or the Red Rectangle), probably in an intermediate evolution stage between the two former classes. I will not discuss more peculiar classes, such as R CrB stars and novae, for which very little is known about the presence of such molecular species.