Background: The chromosome-specific probe is a fundamental tool of chromosome painting and has been commonly applied in mammalian species. The technology, however, has not been widely applied in plants due to a lack of methodologies for probe development. Identification and labeling of a large number of oligonucleotides (oligos) specific to a single chromosome offers us an opportunity to establish chromosome-specific probes in plants. However, never before has whole chromosome painting been performed in rice. Results: We developed a pooled chromosome 9-specific probe in rice, which contains 25,000 oligos based on the genome sequence of a japonica rice (Oryza sativa L., AA, 2n = 2× = 24). Chromosome 9 was easily identified in both japonica and indica rice using this chromosome 9-painting probe. The probe was also successfully used to identify and characterize chromosome 9 in additional lines of O. sativa, a translocation line, two new aneuploids associated with chromosome 9 and a wild rice (Oryza eichingeri A. Peter, CC, 2n = 2× = 24). Conclusion: The study reveals that a pool of oligos specific to a chromosome is a useful tool for chromosome painting in rice.