Since the release of the first Pokemon games in 1996, the Nintendo series has become one of the most iconic and recognizable franchises in gaming history. The national Pokedex is bigger than ever! With the release of Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, over a thousand Pokemon have been released – ‘coin Pokemon’ Goldhengo being the 1000th entry!
With so many of these critters around, it’s incredible that the Pokemon team hasn’t run out of ideas yet. It’s no wonder they’ve been turning to the natural world for inspiration for so long! Grass-type Pokemon tend to look like plants, which makes sense for the typing. Looking deeper, though, fewer than expected have real life plant counterparts. Here are ten Pokemon based on real plants.
9 Vileplume – Rafflesia
This Gen 1 Pokemon is one of the first plant-inspired critters players will have encountered playing Pokemon Green & Red in the 90s. Vileplume is one of two final evolutions off the Grass-type Pokemon Oddish, which evolves when exposed to a Leaf Stone. With its evolution, it gains the Poison typing – which makes sense considering its inspiration.
Rafflesia, also known as the corpse plant, is an enormous parasitic flowering plant, with some of the largest flowers in the world! Its petals, rather gruesomely, smell like rotting flesh – which is what gives the plant its eerie moniker.
8 Victreebel – Pitcher Plants
Victreebel, the final evolution of Bellsprout, is based on a genus of plants known as Pitcher Plants! Like Vileplume’s inspiration, these are carnivorous plants, which goes some way to explaining why this plant has teeth. This Pokemon is also a Grass/Poison type, likely due to its sickly appearance.
Despite this, the Pokemon actually has quite a love story in the anime. Team Rocket’s James had two separate Victreebel, traded for each other and evolved from Weepinbel. When the second Weepinbel attacked Jessie, it was released near the original, and they instantly fell in love.
7 Jumpluff & Eldegoss – Cotton
Though based on the same plant, these two Pokemon are biologically unrelated. Their only similarity is their white, fluffy puffballs inspired by the spores of a cotton plane, and Eldegoss has the beginnings of cotton flowers, too! Eldgoss’ name is likely inspired by the word Gossypium, the genus that the cotton plant belongs to.
6 Sunflora – Sunflower
One of the more obvious inspirations is Sunflora and the Sunflower. This doesn’t, of course, mean that Sunflora is a bad Pokemon – in fact, Sunflora is one of the most classic and iconic designs in the series.
Sunflora makes a return in Scarlet & Violet with a prominent role in the Grass-type gym’s test, and a strong presence in the town of Artazon. Brassius, the Grass gym leader, seems to have a fondness for the happy little plant, having crafted many Sunflora sculptures dotted around the town.
5 Carnivine – Venus Fly Trap
Carnivine is a somewhat terrifying Grass-type based on the Venus Fly Trap. Its name comes from a combination of carnivore and vine, stemming from the Venus Fly Trap’s carnivorous nature. It made its first appearance in Gen 4, and doesn’t evolve from or into anything.
Given how identical the plant is to the Pokemon, Carnivine could have been a haunted Venus Fly Trap, a dual type Grass/Ghost type similar to Brambleghast. Maybe a regional variant is in order?
4 Roserade – Roses
Roserade is another pretty obvious inspiration, but it’s an interesting design, nonetheless. Roserade appears to take on the position of a stem to two bouquets of red and blue roses. Interestingly enough, it’s a Grass/Poison type – its aroma gets sweeter the stronger the poison it has.
It’s also one of few Pokemon with gender differences. Though slight, a male Roserade will have a shorter cape than a female one. It’s also made quite a few anime appearances!
3 Cacnea – Barrel Cactus
This Grass-type Pokemon introduced in Gen 3 is the spiting image of a cactus! While there are many forms of cacti, including the one Cacnea evolves into, it most resembles one of the two genera Echinocactus and Ferocactus – or Barrel Cactus! Fittingly, Cacnea is often found in desert regions in Pokemon games.
Cacnea also makes an appearence in the Pokemon anime as James’ Pokemon! James caught it after he had to release his Weezing, alongside Jessie’s Arbok, to protect a group of Ekans and Koffing that were freed from a Pokémon Poacher.
2 Lotad – Water Lily
Lotad is a goofy-looking Grass/Water type introduced in Gen 3, which evolves into Lombre at Level 14, and again into Ludiculo when exposed to the Water Stone. This Pokemon is based on a Water Lily, a family of flowering aquatic plants that typically float on top of ponds.
Lotad even gets its own episode in the anime – ‘The Lotad Lowdown’! In the 286th episode of the Pokemon anime, Brock encounters three sisters that own a flower shop and a hoard of Lotad, one of which is given to Brock. The Lotad he gets is, like its appearance would suggest, a little slow.
1 Tropius – Banana Tree
Tropius is a rather cleverly designed Pokemon based on a banana tree! Despite what looks like significant heft, Tropius is a dual Grass/Flying type, and is able to fly around using wings that look like the large leaves on a banana tree.
Known as the ‘Fruit Pokemon’ the bunches of bananas apparently began to grow around its neck due to excessive consumption of its favorite fruit. It’s also quite a sweet-tempered Pokemon despite its stature – it loves handing out its bananas to local children, who love the delicious taste. MORE:The Worst-Designed Pokemon Of All Time