Divergence of abundant genomic elements among the Zea and Tripsacum genera was examined cytologically and a tool kit established for subsequent studies. The LTR regions from the CRM, Huck, Grande, Prem1, Prem2/Ji, Opie, Cinful-1, and Tekay retroelement families were used as FISH probes on mitotic chromosome spreads from a “trispecies” hybrid containing chromosomes from each of three species: Zea mays (2n = 20), Z. diploperennis (2n = 20), and Tripsacum dactyloides (2n = 36). Except for Tekay, which painted both Zea and Tripsacum chromosomes with nearly equal intensity, the retroelement probes hybridized strongly to the Zea chromosomes, allowing them to be distinguished from those of Tripsacum. Huck and Grande hybridized more intensely to maize than to Z. diploperennis chromosomes. Tripsacum genomic clones containing retroelement sequences were isolated that specifically paint Tripsacum chromosomes. The retroelement paints proved effective for distinguishing different genomes in interspecific hybrids and visualizing alien chromatin from T. dactyloides introgressed into maize lines. Other FISH probes (180-bp knob, TR-1, 5S, NOR, Cent4, CentC, rp1, rp3, and α-ZeinA) could be simultaneously visualized with the retroelement probes, emphasizing the value of the retroelement probes for cytogenetic studies of Zea and Tripsacum.