BALGOOY, M.M.J, VAN. 1998. Malesian Seed Plants. Volume 2. Portraits of tree families. 307 pp., numerous text figures. Published by Rijksherbarium/Hortus Botanicus, Leiden. ISBN 90-71236-36-6. Paperback. Price: NLG 100.00. This is the second volume of a trilogy [see the review of ‘Spot-characters’ by Dransfield, Fl. Males. Bull. 12 (1997) 54-55]. Here 111 families of Malesian seed plants are treated that at least have one tree species with a diameter at breast height (of a Caucasian man!) of over 10 cm, or with a height of at least 10 m. It must be noted that this is not a traditional descriptive book on plant families. Rather, it is an introduction and an aid to memory. On one hand one would like to have the descriptions of all families compatible in details, but there are other works that already do this. On the other hand, as here, the salient characters are given which give a polythetic diagnosis of the family, and so not straight away comparable to that given for others. Van Balgooy has attempted to put down in writing what intuitive identifiers use for the recognition of families. He has had a lifetime of experience in this. Not an easy task at all, and not always possible to bring into words, either. You may recognize an acquaintance from a far distance, but are at a loss to explain why.