Botanical illustration has a long tradition in both the arts and sciences and is currently enjoying a revival. The earliest botanical illustrations date back thousands of years.

The ancient Chinese, Indians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Native Americans were all herbalists.

Shen Nung

Considered to be the father of Chinese agriculture, this legendary emperor taught his people how to cultivate grains as food, so as to avoid killing animals. He is said to have tasted hundreds of herbs to test their medicinal value.

Shen-nung pen ts'ao ching (Divine Husbandman's Materia Medica). c. 3000 B.C

The oldest known list of medicinal herbs is more than 5000 years old (3000 BC) and comes from China. It was possibly written by Shen Nung, a legendary emperor, but true author is unknown.
EGYPT - 1500 BC
One of the earliest plant representations can be seen on the walls of the Temple of Thutmose III at Karnak in Egypt. These group of plants are carved in bas-relief. There are 275 plants shown, some recognizable and some not, but the inscription states that "these plants exist in very truth".
MINOAN CULTURE (Island of Crete and Greece) - 16th century BC FRESCOES FROM THE PALACE OF KRONOS