A fast, simple, and efficient approach, termed consensus multiplex PCR–RFLP, was developed and employed to detect mitochondrial (mt)DNA variation in three orchid species, Spiranthes hongkongensis, S. sinensis, and S. spiralis. Using multiplex PCR, three pairs of consensus mitchondrial primers were added simultaneously into each reaction tube to amplify three nonoverlapping introns located in the NADH dehydrogenase genes. Fragment length differences in the multiplex PCR amplicons were directly detectable between S. spiralis and the other two species. Further restriction analysis of the multiplex PCR amplicons revealed sufficient mtDNA polymorphism, suitable for phylogenetic studies at the interspecific level. This approach is well suited for large-scale population surveys of mitochondrial genome diversity in plants. Additionally, the maternal mode of inheritance of organelle genomes renders this approach valuable for rapid identification of the origin and specific parentage of hybrid or allopolyploid species.