The characterisation of components of the plant mitochondrial import apparatus along with the availability of over one hundred nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins allows the study of plant mitochondrial protein import in homologous systems. From these studies it has emerged that although similarities in the import process exist with other organisms, significance differences exist, such as receptor structure, location of processing peptidase and targeting signals. These differences mean that previous studies carried out in heterologous systems must be re-evaluated. Further studies into protein import in plants need to be directed at understanding the mechanism of import and how this process may be controlled. In this review the latter points will be dealt with in terms of summarising our current knowledge and possible future directions.