Commemorating William John Burchell (1781-1863), a 19th-century English explorer, British naturalist, traveller, artist and author. He discovered and documented many species during his travels through Southern Africa. He landed in Cape Town in 1810 and undertook many smaller trips. From 1811-1815 he covered over 7000km. He returned to England with over 50 000 plant specimens and published two volumes entitled Travels in the Interior of Southern Africa in 1822 and 1824.
From the Cape Province of South Africa, previously known as the Cape Colony. -ensis is a Latin adjectival suffix meaning “pertaining to or “originating in,” Thus these organisms were first discovered in the Cape. In the early days of exploration this epithet was frequently applied to anywhere in South Africa or even Southern Africa
Gk. ereike = to break. The name used for a heath by Theophrastus (372–287 BCE) and Pliny the Elder. The stems are brittle and break easily (Lindsay); or possibly but less likely because of the ability of the plant to break up bladder stones (Paxton’s Botanical Dictionary).