PNF-404 is covered in all sorts of vegetation in addition to its animal wildlife. This includes an assortment of plants and fungi. Gameplay-wise, these can either be static background or area geometry elements, or they can be game objects that react to the world around them. For the most part, plants and fungi serve only an aesthetic purpose, but in some instances, they can directly contribute to the gameplay. With the Piklopedia in Pikmin 2, some plants and fungi were given a bit of importance inside the game itself, but because the explorers are not specialists in plant and fungus lifeforms familiar to humans, they mistakingly categorize things like LED lights as plants. In addition, Captain Olimar refers to Pikmin as being "both plant and animal".
Vegetation as game objects
As stated above, some forms of vegetation are game objects, much like the leaders or the Pikmin. They are dotted about the terrain, and most of them have minimal impact on the gameplay, serving only for decoration; at most, they gently sway when brushed against. However, while some plants and fungi may be decorative in and of themselves, upon touching them they may release some helpful enemies hiding within, like Unmarked Spectralids, Honeywisps or Iridescent Flint Beetles. Others can also act as hiding spots from predators. Finally, there is a small handful of plant and fungus objects that have an important role as a gameplay mechanic.
The Piklopedia is an in-game feature in Pikmin 2. When the leaders interact with enemies and vegetation, a record about the entity is created on the Piklopedia. In order for the player to complete the Piklopedia, they must touch at least one specimen of every recognizable plant and fungus in the game.
Some forms of vegetation in PNF-404 are actually helpful or obstructive to the leaders and their Pikmin, and serve as important gameplay mechanics – some must be interacted with to complete the game.
Treasures as vegetation
In Pikmin 2, the leaders attribute a high value to some otherwise mundane plants and fungi. These forms of vegetation have been upgraded from mere decorative objects to important treasures that the player must collect in order to complete the game. The following is a list of series whose treasures do not act as regular in-game vegetation:
Enemies as vegetation
Some enemies in the Pikmin world take advantage of the unassuming characteristics of flora and fungi in order to disguise themselves as common vegetation. This can be either a defensive or offensive mechanism, in that the disguise could serve as a way to hide from predators, or as a means for an ambush. In addition, some enemies also seem to be part plant or part fungus, much like how the Pikmin are part plant themselves. A list of enemies with these plant and fungus connections is as follows:
Vegetation as terrain
The terrain in PNF-404 consists of all sorts of surfaces. Given the series' highlights of nature, a large part of the terrain Pikmin and leaders walk on is made up of flora or fungi. This can range from grass to tree trunks. These different terrains count simply for decoration, as they have no impact on the gameplay, other than providing different footstep sounds when leaders walk on top of them.
Vegetation as background
In order to give the areas some physical context, the out of bounds sections of the terrain are filled with plants and fungi. At times, it is even in much larger amounts than what can be found in the area's in-bound terrain; the reason for this is to stop the gameplay section of the area to be too cluttered. The outside of maps can consist of normal vegetation gameplay objects, dedicated models (e.g. trees, leaves, or unique flowers), or, in the case of the first two games, a wall with a texture of assorted vegetation, like mossy stones or trees.
List of identified vegetation
The following is a list of identified plants and fungi in the Pikmin games. This list refers to vegetation that is given an actual name or recognition inside the games, but also vegetation that has a mechanic in the game, and not just aesthetics. Only Pikmin 2 actually names most of these, with the Piklopedia. You may also browse the categories available on Pikipedia, with the top one being Vegetation.
Plants and fungi in Pikmin Adventure are once again decorative and hardly interactive, but there are Nintendo Land Plaza statues for each of them. These are unlocked using Nintendo Land Coins.
List of unidentified vegetation
There are forms of vegetation that are not given a name or any sort of importance inside the games themselves. However, their species can still be known by examining how they look and act, compared to plants and fungi in the real world. Some vegetation, however, cannot be identified at all, either because they do not resemble any real world plant, or because the resemblances are too weak to reach conclusive proof. The names given on this list are the real world names.
Brown mushrooms appear in Pikmin 3, and they grow on trees. This type of mushroom must not be confused with another brown mushroom that can only be found on the ground. Unlike the latter, it's not possible to interact with it.
トウバナ (Clinopodium gracile) is made of several little leaves. It appears in the following areas:
Hedera helix, or common ivy, is a rampant and clinging plant often found on walls. It is possible to see this kind of plant in Pikmin 3.
There is a red flower in Pikmin 3 which resembles Papaver rhoeas, also known as the common poppy, a common ornamental plant.
Echinodorus cordifolius, also known as the creeping burhead, is an aquatic plant native to Mexico. They appear in the Garden of Hope in Pikmin 3.
Plants belonging to the subfamily Lemnoideae, commonly known as duckweed, can be seen growing over the ponds and lakes of the Garden of Hope in Pikmin 3.
In the background of Tropical Wilds in Pikmin 3, it's possible to see leaves that seem to have been eaten by something.
Euphorbiae are flowering plants that can be seen in Pikmin 3.
Ferns are large plants that reproduce through spores, they appear in Pikmin, Pikmin 2, and Pikmin 3, and more precisely, in two colors: brown or green.
Forget-me-nots are small flowering plants belonging to the genus Myosotis; they appear in Pikmin 3 in the Beastly Caverns stage of Mission Mode and the Shaded Terrace stage of Bingo Battle. They are popular garden flowers, only acting as decoration to the garden themes of these two areas.
In The Impact Site in Pikmin, it's possible to see strange leaves. Due to the lack of details, it can't be matched with a real plant.
Glebionis coronaria, formerly known as Chrysanthemum coronarium and commonly known as the garland chrysanthemum, is a yellow flowering plant found in Pikmin 3. Although they're similar to Dandelions, they are smaller and have fewer petals.
In Pikmin 3, it's possible to find flowers very similar to gerberas.
Epipremnum aureum, also known as the golden pothos is a tropical plant characterized by the golden streaks on its leaves. This temperate plant appears in Pikmin 3.
Plants belonging to the family Convolvulaceae, commonly known as morning-glory, are flowering plants that appear in Pikmin 3 in the Forgotten Cove.
Pansies are flowering plants bred through hybridization by humans of multiple plants in the genus Viola. These plants appear in Pikmin 3. Depending on the current day, the color of their flowers can change.
Several large flat leaves appear in the background of the Perplexing Pool, serving no other purpose than decoration. The leaves' stems connect at the bottom, characteristic mainly to tropical plants. Its species name would probably be peltata.
Although it is not confirmed, there are needles in Pikmin 3 which seem to be pine needles.
Persicaria capitata, commonly known as the pink knotweed, is a low-growing flowering plant with pink club-like flowers and a white arrow pattern on its leaves. In Pikmin 3, it can be found in The Rustyard.
There is an unknown red object that appears in all Pikmin games. It is either a red-leafed plant or a red mushroom. It is quite common in Pikmin, appearing in every area. In Pikmin 2, this same red-leafed plant only appears in the Valley of Repose near the landing area, covered in snow. In Pikmin 3 the plant becomes a trio of mushrooms found only in the Tropical Wilds and the Formidable Oak; they make a unique sound when disturbed. The red-leafed plant from Pikmin and Pikmin 2 could be based on heuchera micrantha whereas the new mushroom's look could be based on mycena haematopus. In Pikmin 2, they belong to the area's geometry, but in Pikmin, it is its own object, called
The Formidable Oak in Pikmin 3 features numerous different variants of cacti and succulent plants. These include haworthia attenuata, stout barrel cacti, aeonium succulents, and large columnar cacti in the distance. The Formidable Oak also houses some more ambiguous but unique flora, including inflorescences of pink wildflowers, sprouts and tufts of dry grasses, and even some tiny lichens in the center of the arena area. Most of these succulents and some of the flower types are also used in the Thirsty Desert and its remix in Mission Mode.
Swiss cheese plant
Monstera deliciosa, commonly known as the Swiss cheese plant, is a tropical plant used for interior decoration. It appears in Pikmin 3 in the following areas: Tropical Wilds, Tropical Forest and Tropical Forest Remix.
Nearly every area of every game (excluding The Forest Navel) contains trees, though most of the time they go unnoticed. Their main effect on gameplay is providing dynamic shadows that make the look of the environment more realistic and interesting. Trees can be seen in most of the backgrounds of the first two games' areas, but the textures depicting them are simple and looped, and often obscured by distance fog. In Pikmin 3, the entire skybox is rendered, and one can see full trees surrounding the area using the KopPad's camera.
A trifolium alexandrinum (also known as Egyptian clover) is a plant used as a fodder. It appears in Pikmin 3. This is actually a flower of a Clover. In Pikmin 3, this flower may appear or not, depending on the current day.
These only appear in Pikmin 3, and with different colors from normal (such as pink or yellow).
An ivy-like vine appears in the Tropical Forest in Pikmin 3, creeping along the edge of a raised platform and wall until twirling into a curled slide. Leaders and Pikmin can slide down this vine to get from the raised platform to the lower ground quickly, but not vice versa. Several vines are also used for scenery.
A prototype of Pikmin 3 contained an unused patch of weed-like plants.
In Pikmin 3, it's possible to find a white mushroom in autumnal areas.
Salvia nemerosa, commonly known as the woodland sage, is a flowering plant sporting large numbers of small purple flowers. They can be seen in Pikmin 3.
Yellow wood sorrel