Auxin is a plant growth regulator involved in diverse fundamental developmental responses. Much is now known about auxin transport, via influx and efflux carriers, and about auxin perception and its role in gene regulation. Many developmental processes are dependent on peaks of auxin concentration and, to date, attention has been directed at the role of polar auxin transport in generating and maintaining auxin gradients. However, surprisingly little attention has focussed on the role and significance of auxin biosynthesis, which should be expected to contribute to active auxin pools. Recent reports on the function of the YUCCA flavin monooxygenases and a tryptophan aminotransferase in Arabidopsis have caused us to look again at the importance of local biosynthesis in developmental processes. Many alternative and redundant pathways of auxin synthesis exist in many plants and it is emerging that they may function in response to environmental cues.