Studies of the resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum have revealed some of the mechanisms which these desiccation-tolerant plants use to survive environments with extreme dehydration and restricted seasonal water. Most resurrection plants are polyploid with large genomes, which has hindered efforts to obtain whole genome sequences and perform mutational analysis. However, the application of deep sequencing technologies to transcriptomics now permits large-scale analyses of gene expression patterns despite the lack of a reference genome. Here we use pyro-sequencing to characterize the transcriptomes of C. plantagineum leaves at four stages of dehydration and rehydration. This reveals that genes involved in several pathways, such as those required for vitamin K and thiamin biosynthesis, are tightly regulated at the level of gene expression. Our analysis also provides a comprehensive picture of the array of cellular responses controlled by gene expression that allow resurrection plants to survive desiccation.