Narcissus, from Otto Brunfels, Herbarum,

2. Brunfels, Otto (1488-1534).
Herbarum Vivae Eicones ad Nature Imitationem.
  Strassburg: apud Joannem Schottu[m], 1530-1532.

Brunfels’ Herbal, as this book is usually called, demarked a radical change in scientific illustration.  The woodcuts were drawn from life, specifically for this book, by an artist named Hans Weiditz.  Weiditz came out of the German naturalist school, which included Albrecht Dürer and Hans Burgkmair, and his images are starkly realistic, even showing wormholes and withered leaves.  The text written by Brunfels was in strong contrast to the woodcuts, being based entirely classical authorities.  Every subsequent herbal would have similar life-like images, and it did not take long for the authors to realize that the text should have a similar contemporary flavor, with observations drawn from life, just like the pictures.

image Pasqueflower, from Otto Brunfels, Herbarum, 1530-32.

Linda hall Library