DNA reassociation and hydroxyapatite chromatography were used to isolate high-copy DNA of the grass Zingeria biebersteiniana (2n = 4). In situ hybridization demonstrated that the DNA isolated was enriched for pericentromere-specific repetitive sequences. One abundant pericentromere-specific component is the differentially methylated tandem-repeat family Zbcen1. Other sequences isolated, Zb46 and Zb47A, are dispersed and display similarity to parts of the gypsy- and copia-like retrotransposable elements of other grasses. In situ hybridization with the copia-like sequence Zb47A resulted in dispersed labelling along the chromosome arms, with a significant signal accumulation in the pericentromeric region of all chromosomes. It is concluded that the pericentromeric heterochromatin of Z. biebersteiniana is composed of members of the Zbcen1 tandem repeat family and that these tandem arrays are intermingled with accumulated putative copia-like retrotransposon sequences. An observed Rab1 interphase orientation suggests that the length of the chromosomes rather than the genome size is the determining factor of the Rab1 phenomenon.