A green house study was conducted between July and August, 2009 to test and determine the drought tolerance levels of ten maize (Zea mays L.) genotypes. The top soil used was retrieved from Bediease series (Chromic lixisol). Ten genotypes, (six inbred lines and four varieties) having different genetic backgrounds were used. Two sets of the genotypes were established, of which one set received water up to the end of the experiment, 55 days after planting (DAP) and the remaining set was water stressed for 34 days starting from 21 days after planting. Through pairwise comparison of means for plant height, leaf relative water content, dry matter yield, root dry mass and leaf rolling under water stressed and non stressed conditions, Entry 24 showed no significant difference between the two water regimes in all the five indicators used, followed by Entry 5 which recorded four out of the five indicators of drought. Mamaba recorded two out of five indicators of drought tolerance among the four varieties. The factors chosen for the ranking procedure proved to be effective indicators for the selection of drought tolerant maize.
Key words: Zea mays, genotype, drought tolerance, water stress, non water stress.