Desmodium vs Hylodesmum

I was looking up observations of Tick-Trefoil on my page, and I found that of the six species I’ve observed, they were split into two genera: Desmodium and Hylodesmum. Are these two synonymous or should they be treated as different genera? Some common names are “Tick-trefoil” and others are “Ticktrefoil” but there doesn’t appear to be any kind of rule to it.

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These are two separate genera. They are similar visually so they do indeed share a common name.
There are certainly morphological characteristics that set the genera apart, however I am not familiar with them.

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Hylodesmum was segregated from Desmodium in a paper published in 2000, so anything published prior to that date is working under a different set of assumptions. See: https://gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org/genus/hylodesmum/

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Maybe in addition to what @trscavo and@yayemaster have said, this case where common names further confuse people? like American vs European robin, one being in the thrush family while the other is not?

No. This is a case where common names simply reflect a relationship at a different level than genus. Both genera are still Desmodiinae.

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