In order to study the evolution of mitochondrial genomes in the early branching lineages of the monocotyledons, i.e., the Acorales and Alismatales, we are sequencing complete genomes from a suite of key taxa. As a starting point the present paper describes the mitochondrial genome of Butomus umbellatus (Butomaceae) based on next-generation sequencing data. The genome was assembled into a circular molecule, 450,826 bp in length. Coding sequences cover only 8.2% of the genome and include 28 protein coding genes, four rRNA genes, and 12 tRNA genes. Some of the tRNA genes and a 16S rRNA gene are transferred from the plastid genome. However, the total amount of recognized plastid sequences in the mitochondrial genome is only 1.5% and the amount of DNA transferred from the nucleus is also low. RNA editing is abundant and a total of 557 edited sites are predicted in the protein coding genes. Compared to the 40 angiosperm mitochondrial genomes sequenced to date, the GC content of the Butomus genome is uniquely high (49.1%). The overall similarity between the mitochondrial genomes of Butomus and Spirodela (Araceae), the closest relative yet sequenced, is low (less than 20%), and the two genomes differ in size by a factor 2. Gene order is also largely unconserved. However, based on its phylogenetic position within the core alismatids Butomus will serve as a good reference point for subsequent studies in the early branching lineages of the monocotyledons.