Piranha Plant

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"Green Piranha Plant" redirects here. For information about the version of this enemy also known as "Green Piranha Plant", see Wild Ptooie Piranha. For other uses, see Piranha Plant (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Piranha Planet.

Piranha Plants are a species of carnivorous plants which appear as enemies throughout the Super Mario franchise, in which they first appear in Super Mario Bros.. They usually appear as a leafy green stalk topped with a white-spotted red or green globe, with a maw lined with sharp teeth reminiscent of piranhas. Overall, Piranha Plants appear to be based on the real-world venus flytrap. Piranha Plants typically emerge from Warp Pipes scattered throughout various levels, though some Piranha Plants appear from the ground.


Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario Bros.[edit]

Fire Mario encountering a Piranha Plant in World 1-2 of Super Mario Bros.

In Super Mario Bros., Piranha Plants are first encountered in World 1-2, and are the third overall enemy encountered by Mario or Luigi. Piranha Plants are found in a majority of the levels. A Piranha Plant has a pattern of repeatedly emerging from a Warp Pipe for a few seconds, biting its teeth together, before retreating back into it. If Mario or Luigi stand either next to or on top of a Warp Pipe containing a Piranha Plant, it stops emerging. If Mario or Luigi touch a Piranha Plant, they take damage. The main way of defeating a Piranha Plant is for Fire Mario or Fire Luigi to shoot a fireball at it, although like any other enemy, a Piranha Plant can also be defeated if Mario or Luigi touch it while in their invincibility form, granted by a Starman. In either instance, defeating a Piranha Plant is worth 200 points.

Like several other enemies, the underground Piranha Plants utilize a darker palette than those found outdoors. The sprites for a Piranha Plant in the original Nintendo Entertainment System version are symmetrical, and consists of a head and a short stalk with a leaf on each side, both of which are the same height as the stalk. A Piranha Plant's head consists of 24 spots, with 12 on each side.

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels[edit]

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels sprite for a green (left) and a red Piranha Plant (right). The green one was directly taken from Super Mario Bros..

In Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Piranha Plants make a returning appearance. Like most returning enemies, Piranha Plants have a similar role as in Super Mario Bros.. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels introduces a stronger red Piranha Plant variant, which has a faster movement pattern and continues emerging from its Warp Pipe even if Mario or Luigi stands next to it. Like their regular counterpart, red Piranha Plants do not emerge from their Warp Pipe if Mario or Luigi is standing on it.

Like the other returning enemies, Piranha Plants use the same sprites as in Super Mario Bros.. The red variant has orange spots on its sprites.

Super Mario Bros. 3[edit]

Fire Mario looking at a red Piranha Plant and a green Piranha Plant in World 7-8 of the Super Mario All-Stars remake of Super Mario Bros. 3

In Super Mario Bros. 3, both green and red Piranha Plants return as common enemies, with the latter now having the same behavior as their green counterpart. Mario or Luigi can still defeat a Piranha Plant using the same methods as before, but they can now also defeat a Piranha Plant using their tail while in their Raccoon or Tanooki form or by throwing hammers at a Piranha Plant while in their Hammer form.

In the original Nintendo Entertainment System version, the king of World 7, was transformed into a Piranha Plant, although in the Super Mario All-Stars version and Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3, the king is instead transformed into a Yoshi.

Piranha Plants have a more rounded head, which has visible white spots and white lips. There are fewer visible spots on their head than in Super Mario Bros.. Red Piranha Plants are slightly taller because they have an additional pair of leaves, giving Mario or Luigi slightly less room to dodge them.

Super Mario World[edit]

In Super Mario World, Piranha Plants return as enemies. Since this game, red has become the sole primary color for a Piranha Plant's head, and they retain their two segments of leaves from Super Mario Bros. 3. They have only five visible spots on their head, even fewer than in Super Mario Bros. 3. While a vine is growing, it has a visible light green Piranha Plant head. During Fall, Piranha Plants turn into Pumpkin Plants; aside from having a pumpkin as a head, they are otherwise the same.

Super Mario 64[edit]

Mario standing next to a Piranha Plant in Super Mario 64

In Super Mario 64, Piranha Plants are encountered as enemies in Whomp's Fortress. Like Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, they are planted into the ground, do not appear within Warp Pipes, and change their behavior when approached. A Piranha Plant has dark green lips instead of white, something that was occasionally shown in other appearances. At first, a Piranha Plant is found asleep, indicated by a bubble on its face and a short lullaby playing. When Mario approaches a Piranha Plant, its bubble pops, indicating that it has woken up, and Piranha Plant tries to bite at Mario. If Mario is hit, he loses three segments of health from the Power Meter. Mario can defeat a Piranha Plant by punching or by ground pounding it, although not while it is biting at him.

In Super Mario 64 DS, Piranha Plants were made smaller, and were redesigned after their common appearance, although their head is maroon instead of bright red. Piranha Plants are additionally encountered in Goomboss Battle and Sunshine Isles, both of which are locations not found in the original Super Mario 64. Yoshi can defeat a Piranha Plant by throwing an Egg at it, just like in the Yoshi franchise.

Super Mario Sunshine[edit]

A Piranha Plant covered in brown goop in Super Mario Sunshine

In Super Mario Sunshine, Piranha Plants return as enemies. They have a slimmer appearance and a smaller head, but still closely resemble their design in Super Mario 64. Piranha Plants only appear in Bianco Hills, which is also the domain of a giant Piranha Plant boss named Petey Piranha.

A Piranha Plant randomly pops out of the ground when Mario gets near, and are often found in puddles of brown goop. A Piranha Plant attacks Mario by spitting black goop at him. To defeat a Piranha Plant, Mario has to spray water from FLUDD at it for a few seconds. While a Piranha Plant is being sprayed with water, its body inflates until it blows up, letting out a cry as some water and a few coins are released from it.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening[edit]

A sprite of a Piranha Plant in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (left) and in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX (right)
Link next to a Piranha Plant in a side-scrolling area of the Key Cavern in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX

In The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Piranha Plants appear in side-scrolling areas in the second and third dungeons, Bottle Grotto and Key Cavern, often alongside Goombas. Piranha Plants have the same attack pattern as in the Super Mario series in that they repeatedly emerge from their pipe for a few seconds before retreating back into it. Furthermore, if Link is standing on a pipe, the Piranha Plant does not appear from it. Piranha Plants only emerge from regular pipes, as Warp Pipes do not appear in the game. When a Piranha Plant emerges from its pipe, Link can use any weapon to instantly defeat it, although Link cannot do so by jumping on it using the Roc's Feather as this results in him taking damage and losing half of a heart of his health. However, Link can use the Roc's Feather to safely jump over a Piranha Plant.

In the Nintendo Switch remake, a Piranha Plant figure is a prize in the Trendy Game. When Link acquires it, the text onscreen reads, "You got a Piranha Plant figure! You know, the flower that pops out from the pipes." The Piranha Plant figure can be placed on a stand in Tarin and Marin's house.

In the original Game Boy version and The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, a Piranha Plant's sprites are based on its design introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3, although its round head and the arrangement of spots on it most closely resembles its appearance in Super Mario World. Piranha Plants have two segments of leaves like the red variant in Super Mario Bros. 3 and their Super Mario World appearance in general. Compared to earlier sprite depictions, Piranha Plants have smaller lips, no visible teeth, and the tip of their leaves are pointed downward. In the Nintendo Switch remake, Piranha Plants are darker red than in The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX, they have a small set of teeth, and the tip of their leaves are no longer pointed downward.

Yoshi's Island series[edit]

Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island[edit]

In Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Piranha Plants are among the several enemies from the main Mario franchise to appear. Instead of appearing from Warp Pipes, Piranha Plants are planted into the ground. At first, a Piranha Plant disguises itself by appears as a small bud, but whenever a Yoshi approaches the Piranha Plant, its entire body expands into view. A Yoshi can defeat a Piranha Plant by firing an egg at it. Upon being defeated, the Piranha Plant briefly locks into place, shrinks, and pops, causing it to disappear. If a Yoshi touches a Piranha Plant, he gets caught into the its mouth, causing Baby Mario to appear in a Bubble as the Countdown Timer starts and for the Yoshi to drop its eggs. A few seconds after Piranha Plant puts Yoshi into its mouth, it spits him back out.

The boss of World 3 is an enlarged Piranha Plant named Naval Piranha, who was enlarged by Kamek at the start of the battle.

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars[edit]

In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Piranha Plants are encountered as enemies in Pipe Vault.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Piranha Plant is a downloadable playable character, and was unexpectedly announced as the first one for the game.

Masahiro Sakurai's reason for choosing Piranha Plant is because he considered it to be a very well known character, and felt that making it a complimentary early purchase bonus as part of a limited-time offer would be an effective promotional effort. While Sakurai acknowledged that the Piranha Plant is an example of a playable character that lies outside of players' typical expectations, he emphasized that having a "good balance" is prioritized over the element of surprise when it comes to the planning of the game's roster.[1]

Appearances in other media[edit]

Board games[edit]

Super Mario Piranha Plant Escape![edit]

There is a board game from Epoch Games titled Super Mario Piranha Plant Escape! that is centered around a Piranha Plant; its gameplay revolves around the rolling of dice and the advancement of figurines that represent Mario and Luigi while players attempt to avoid an impending attack from the Piranha Plant centerpiece.

General information[edit]


In the Super Mario series, the behavior of a Piranha Plant is typically to emerge from a pipe while biting their teeth together for a few seconds and then retreat back into it. Most Piranha Plants emerge from a vertical Warp Pipe, but they can appear from a variety of Warp Pipes, including horizontal and diagonal.


Piranha Plant's name is derived from it being a carnivorous plant with sharp teeth similar to that of a piranha fish. Furthermore, some appearances, especially the Super Mario series, show a Piranha Plant biting its teeth together. Its Japanese name, Pakkun Flower, is derived from paku-paku (パクパク), an onomatopoeic Japanese word for mouth movements made when eating.


Although they are a Mario enemy, Piranha Plants received their first variant, Manhandla, in the first The Legend of Zelda game, and Manhandla has been officially described as a "jumbo-sized Piranha Plant."[2] A few months later, with the release of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, Piranha Plants received their first variant within the Mario franchise, red Piranha Plants. By the time of Super Mario World's release, red Piranha Plants became the only standard type of Piranha Plant, no longer sharing the status with green ones.

Super Mario Bros. 3 introduces five Piranha Plant variants; Venus Fire Traps, which can spit fireballs from their mouth; Ptooies, which walk on the ground, exhaling a varying degree of air to lift a Spike Ball to try and hinder Mario or another character's progress; Munchers, which are invincible small Piranha Plant variants with a black head; Nipper Spores, which are small hopping Piranha Plants with a white head; and Piranhacus Giganticus, which are merely larger variants of Piranha Plants. Venus Fire Traps went on to become one of the most common Piranha Plant variants in general.

Super Mario World introduced the Jumping Piranha Plant, which has the appearance of a Piranha Plant head. Similar to a Piranha Plant, Jumping Piranha Plants have a pattern of emerging from a Warp Pipe and re-entering it every few seconds, although Jumping Piranha Plants do this by launching out and slowly making their way back in before repeating the process.

In Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Piranha Plants received another variant, Chewies, and the boss of Bean Valley is a Piranha Plant boss named Megasmilax.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time introduced Deku Babas, and although they are not recognized as a Piranha Plant variant, Deku Babas have comparable attributes. In the Mario Kart 8 course Hyrule Circuit, Deku Babas are encountered as obstacles, acting just as Piranha Plants do in certain other courses such as Yoshi Circuit.

Alternate names and spellings[edit]

Name Used in
Pirahna Flower[sic] Nintendo Magazine System (Australia) Issue 7 (page 23)
Piranha[citation needed]
Piranha Flower How to Win at Super Mario Bros. (page 14)
The Official Nintendo Player's Guide (page 30)
NES Game Atlas (page 35)
Pirana plant[sic]1 Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet (page 14)
Super Mario Bros. 3 instruction booklet (page 40)

1 - The first word is spelled in lowercase if it is not the first word of a sentence.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Piranha Plant.

Names in other languages[edit]

Piranha Plant[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese パックンフラワー[3]
Pakkun Furawā
Pakkun Furawā (Aka)

Portmanteau of「ぱっくんちょ」(pakkuncho, a Japanese expression meaning "eating in one bite") and "flower"; officially romanized as "Pakkun Flower" or "Packun Flower"

Piranha Plant (Red); variant from Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

Chinese 吞食花
Tūnshí Huā
Shírén Huā

Swallowing Flower (Mario Tennis Ace)

Human Eating Flower, obscure translation of the Japanese name. (prior to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe)

Dutch Piranha Plant
Piranha Plant
Pakkun Flower (Super Mario Land)
Finnish Piraijakasvi
Piranha Plant
German Piranha-Pflanze
Piranha Plant
From "schnappen" (to snap) + "Piranha Plant"
From Japanese name (Super Mario Land instruction booklet)
Italian Pianta Piranha
Pianta Pirana[sic]
Piranha Plant
Pirana Plant (Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet)
Korean 뻐끔플라워
Ppeokkeum Peullawo
From "뻐끔뻐끔" (ppeokkeum-ppeokkeum, onomatopoeia for opening and closing mouth repetitively) and "flower"

Portuguese (NOA) Planta Piranha
Piranha Plant
Portuguese (NOE) Planta Piranha
Planta-piranha (Super Mario 3D World)
Piranha Plant
Romanian Plantă Piranha
Piranha Plant (Super Mario World animated series)
Russian Растение-пиранья
Piranha Plant

Spanish (NOA) Planta piraña
Piranha Plant
Spanish (NOE) Planta Piraña
Planta Piraña Gris
Piranha Plant
Gray Piranha Plant (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door)
Swedish Pirayablomma
Piranha Flower

Upside-Down Piranha[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese 逆さパックン[5]
Sakasa Pakkun
Upside-down Piranha (Plant)

Dutch omgekeerde Piranha
Omgekeerde Pakkun[4]
Reverse Piranha
Reverse Pakkun flower (Super Mario Land)
German Kopfüber-Piranha-Pflanze
Upside-down Piranha Plant
Italian Pianta Piranha capovolta/sottosopra
Upside-down Piranha Plant
Russian пиранья-перевертыш
Flipped-over Piranha

Spanish (NOA) Planta piraña al revés
Upside-down Piranha Plant
Spanish (NOE) Planta Piraña del revés
Upside-down Piranha Plant


  1. ^ Shea, Brian (November 21, 2018). "Masahiro Sakurai Talks Piranha Plant, Spirits, And 20 Years Of Super Smash Bros.". Gameinformer (archive.is). Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  2. ^ The Legend of Zelda Japanese manual, page 37
  3. ^ a b Nintendo of Japan. "CHARACTERS of Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2". CHARACTERS of the Super Mario Bros. series (official Japanese character index). Published 2020. Accessed 20 Mar 2021.
  4. ^ a b Super Mario Land Dutch Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console digital manual, tab 14: "Personages".
  5. ^ Super Mario Land Japanese instruction booklet, page 13.

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