The history of botanical taxonomic literature began in a textual format as far back as the 400s B.C. Such prestigious names as Hippocrates, the "father of medicine," and Theophrastus of Eresius, the "father of botany," are among those to have first written about botany. These early writings, however, lacked the illustrations which are so important to botanical (and all other forms of biodiversity, for that matter) identification. Even when illustrations entered the scene, they were rare and costly, as they had to be reproduced by hand. It was the introduction of the printing press that changed this situation, as this allowed woodcuts producing line illustrations to be inserted into botanical books.
Since the introduction of large quantities of botanical illustrations in scientific literature, there have been a great many famous illustrators to contribute to the visual wealth of knowledge recorded in these works. One of the most celebrated is Pierre Joseph