We have developed a reliable method for silver staining nodules on synaptonemal complexes (SCs) of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). This technique involves hypotonically bursting primary microsporocytes, fixing SC spreads with paraformaldehyde, and incubating the spreads at 40 degrees C in a 33% aqueous silver nitrate solution covered with nylon mesh. When tomato SCs were stained by this method, nodules were observed with the same distribution and frequency as nodules stained with uranyl acetate and lead citrate. Incubation in silver nitrate at higher temperatures caused the loss of some or all nodules. The pattern of loss suggests that two types of nodules coexist during late zygonema and early pachynema and that one type becomes the late nodules of mid-pachynema through early diplonema.