Most angiosperms produce seeds that are desiccated on dispersal with the ability to retain viability in storage facilities for prolonged periods. However, some species produce desiccation sensitive seeds which rapidly lose viability in storage, precluding ex situ conservation. Current consensus is that desiccation sensitive seeds either lack or do not express mechanisms necessary for the acquisition of desiccation tolerance. We sequenced the genome of Castanospermum australe, a legume species producing desiccation sensitive seeds, and characterized its seed developmental physiology and - transcriptomes. C. australe has a low rate of evolution, likely due to its perennial life-cycle and long generation times. The genome is syntenic with itself, with several orthologs of genes from desiccation tolerant legume seeds, from gamma whole-genome duplication events being retained. Changes in gene expression during development of C. australe seeds, as compared to desiccation tolerant Medicago truncatula seeds, suggest they remain metabolically active, prepared for immediate germination. Our data indicates that the phenotype of C. australe seeds arose through few changes in specific signalling pathways, precluding or bypassing activation of mechanisms necessary for acquisition of desiccation tolerance. Such changes have been perpetuated as the habitat in which dispersal occurs is favourable for prompt germination.