Tabula Rasa. In 1963 as a missionary I arrived in the Flora Malesiana region, notably in the Lesser Sunda Islands. A certain ’sensus botanicus’ was my only equipment for botanical surveys, and the next thing to do was to walk the arduous but occasionally quite entertaining road to discovery. I often felt like Mr. Columbus when he was discovering America. I entered the New World at Port Said. A lovely ’pine avenue’ drew me, which turned out to consist of arborescent Equisetes! I now realize that it must have been Casuarina, and still these trees, which I grow in my garden are a source of delight to me. Later it was the tropical gardens with their ’unending splendor of flowers’ that captivated my interest, until one day I learnt that Canna indica is of American origin and that there is indeed a kind of commonplace tropical assortment. For meanwhile I had found occasion to set foot in a genuine Asian primary forest, where reality turned out to be a tedious green monotony. This ’dead point’ must perhaps be reached and passed by anyone who finds himself unprepared like me in the Malesian plant kingdom before, step by step, he can learn to know and love the true ’Flora Malesiana’.