Abstract The objectives of this study were to investigate the genetic factors controlling the chlorophyll content of rice leaf using QTL analysis. A linkage map consisting of 207 DNA markers was constructed by using 247 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from an indica-indica rice cross of Zhenshan97B×Milyang 46. In 2002 and 2003, the contents of chlorophyll a and b of the parents and the 247 RILs were measured on the top first leaf, top second leaf, and top third leaf, respectively. The software QTLMapper 1.6 was used to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs), additive by environment (AE) interactions, and epistatic by environment (AAE) interactions. A total of eight QTLs in four intervals were detected to have significant additive effects on chlorophyll a and b contents at different leaf positions, with 1.96–9.77% of phenotypic variation explained by a single QTL, and two QTLs with significant AE interactions were detected. Epistasis analysis detected nine significant additive-by-additive interactions on chlorophyll a and b contents, and one pair of QTLs with significant AAE interactions was detected. On comparison with QTLs for yield traits detected in the same population, it was found in many cases that the QTLs for chlorophyll a and b contents and those for yield traits were located in the same chromosome intervals.