The genus is
The leaves have a shiny upper surface that feels "gummy" when pinched between the thumb and forefinger, and the roots of most species have red inner root bark.
The flowers are white, greenish–white, blue, dark purple-blue, pale purple or pink, maturing into a dry, three-lobed seed capsule.
The flowers are tiny and produced in large, dense clusters. A few species are reported to be intensely fragrant almost to the point of being nauseating, and are said to resemble the odor of "boiling honey in an enclosed area". The seeds of this plant can lie dormant for hundreds of years,[
Fruits are hard, nutlike capsules.