This genus of plants originating in the eastern part of Africa, were published with this name in 1819 by Francisco Campderà in honor of William John Burchell, known explorer and British naturalist. The Oxygonum are herbaceous, caudiciform and rarely even shrubby perennial plants; with glaucous green or reddish-brown stems and in some very branched species. The leaves change depending on the variety of the species: in some cases they are elongated with regular margins; in others they are oval/rounded with wavy or jagged margins. They have variations in color depending on the species and from exposure to the sun, from light opaque to dark green and in some cases are also spotted black on both leaf surfaces. Its inflorescences are polygamous, both male and female on the same plant and have shapes and colors that vary; most commonly have 5 opaque white petals and bloom on long stems.