The final volume of the four-volume Tree Flora of Malaya is just being completed in 1987. This project has taken 22 years, for an area that is geographically small and floristically relatively well-known. This paper is concerned with the slow rate of taxonomic progress in the tropics which makes taxonomic projects increasingly difficult to promote and organize. It is suggested that the problems may be overcome by demystifying taxonomy. This involves acknowledging that a significant component of taxonomic decisions are subjective, egoistic and arbitrary, that no taxonomic decision or treatment can ever be final, that the principle of one correct name per species is not always tenable, and that stability in scientific nomenclature is unattainable. — Paper presented at the XVI Pacific Science Congress, Seoul, Korea, August 20-30, 1987.