(a.k.a. Pakkun Flower, Jumpin' Piranha Plant, Hanging Piranha Plant.)
TURF: Castles, Caves, Forests.
AFFILIATIONS: Koopa Troop.
SKILLS AND ATTACKS: Pollen Nap, S'crow Dust.
STRENGTHS: They can't be stomped (unless wearing special equipment).
WEAKNESSES: They're weak against fireballs in most games, but not Super Mario RPG.
Piranha Plants come in such a huge variety that it is sometimes difficult to tell
them apart - in this case, Jumpin' Piranha Plants and Hanging Piranha Plants
have been determined to be close enough relatives to the regular Piranha Plant
to be included in this area. In Sarasaland, a variety of these species grows,
and is known as the Pakkun Flower, or the Upside Down Pakkun Flower if growing
down from above. Both are very similar in appearance and behaviour to the
Piranha Plants grown in the Mushroom World, and nearby areas.
It is commonly believed that Piranha Plants were bred to eat animals by the Koopas several centuries ago, so that they could be used as garden guards. However, some scientists believe that they are a natural species of plant, although it is duly noted that Piranha Plants can usually only be tamed by Koopas.
Piranha Plants are one of the most common pests in the Mushroom World, and can be quite dangerous if not handled with care. They usually have a long, vine-like stem, with a large head-shaped flower on top. The flower is normally coloured red with white polka-dots, but green varieties are found ocassionally. The flowers contain a "mouth" full of sharp teeth, for consuming animals.
Piranha Plants are usually somewhat timid, and will not come out of their burrowing areas (they particularly like pipes, but can be found in soil and swamps) if a large animal is nearby. However, they will defend themselves fiercely if attacked, and they get most of their nourishment by eating animals - particularly small birds and rodents, as well as insects. This food source is what allows Pirhana Plants to survive in a variety of conditions, including deserts and caves.
Piranha Plants have become one of the most recognizable and regular enemies in the Super Mario games. When they first appeared in Super Mario Bros, they were venus-flytrap-like plants that attacked from pots.
However, the large "lips" had not yet developed, and whereas most Piranha Plants
today are red, these were usually a sort of orange color. The Lost Levels
introduced Hanging Piranha Plants, a variation of the species that lives in
Like many enemies in Super Mario Land, Pakkun Flowers have funny names, but look and behave much like the familiar Piranha Plants. The ones in this game are a lot more primitive than the others. In Super Mario Bros.3, the basic Piranha design that would continue on down through the years was established. In fact, Pirahna Plants are one of the few enemies that are almost drawing-perfect in that game.
In Super Mario World, Mario and Luigi discovered a jumping species of Piranha Plant on Dinosaur Island. There is still some debate over whether these creatures should be considered a seperate species, but I have assumed that they were one-time mutations, which is something that was quite commmon in that game. Also pictured above is a Hanging Piranha Plant from the same game.
You can see that the Super Mario Land 2 Piranhas were much the same as the ones in Super Mario World - the next really interesting change occured in Super Mario World 2, where Piranha plants stopped growing out of pipes, and started growing wherever they wanted to. In this game, the plants "shrink" when nobody is nearby, but they grow very large and try to eat you when you get close. In Super Mario RPG, some plants were actually able to walk. This suggests that the enemies in this game are perhaps closer related to Pitooies than Piranha Plants, but the game says they're Piranha plants, so why argue?
In Super Mario 64, Piranha Plants' lips turned green, for no apparent reason. They also started sleeping in flower gardens instead of hiding in pipes. The Piranha plants in this game are actually remarkably lifelike, I think, and they're probably my favourites, with the possible exception of the ones in Yoshi's Story. These specimens are quite nice looking, and their motion is very interesting. They also grow on much longer vines than their relatives, and have thorns all over them.
Paper Mario sees the return of Piranha Plants, not surprisingly. They look like traditional Piranha plants, but again they don't come out of pipes.
These monsters have appeared many more times since, with relatively few changes to their appearance, but many new species popping up.