Within papilionoid legumes, characterized by flowers with strong bilateral symmetry, a derived condition within angiosperms, Cadia (Cadia purpurea) has reverted to radially symmetrical flowers. Here, we investigate the genetic basis of this morphological reversal. Two orthologues of the floral symmetry gene CYCLOIDEA (CYC) demarcate the adaxial (dorsal) region of the flower in typical papilionoid legumes. In the model legume Lotus japonicus, one of these LegCYC genes has been shown, like CYC, to be required for the establishment of floral bilateral symmetry. This study shows that these genes are expressed in the adaxial region of the typical papilionoid flower of Lupinus, which belongs to the same papilionoid subclade as Cadia. In Cadia, these genes also are expressed, but the expression pattern of one of these has expanded from the adaxial to the lateral and abaxial regions of the corolla. This result suggests that the radial flowers of Cadia are dorsalized and, therefore, are not a true evolutionary reversal but an innovative homeotic transformation, where, in this case, all petals have acquired dorsal identity. This study raises a question over other putative reversals in animals and plants, which also may be cryptic innovations.