From the Super Mario Wiki
A Lava Lotus is an artificial plant in Super Mario Bros. 3 that lives underwater. They are capable of creating and storing lava balls under their transparent leaves and attack by opening up to release them. The fireballs can go through platforms and make navigating underwater difficult. The number they shoot out is random and can be up to five at a time. The fireballs travel rather slowly and in a straight line from their point of release. The Japanese name of the Lava Lotus, Suichūka, refers to a type of artificial flower that blossoms underwater, and even the manual refers to them as artificial.
Lava Lotuses were given a land counterpart, the Volcano Lotus, in Super Mario World, which did not feature Lava Lotuses. They had a very similar attack pattern, but they were terrestrial instead of aquatic. These Volcano Lotuses also appeared in Super Princess Peach, leaving Lava Lotuses with only one game appearance (not including Super Mario Bros. 3's remakes).
Appearances in other media
A single Lava Lotus appears briefly in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Oh, Brother!". This Lava Lotus unleashes its fireballs on Frog Luigi, who manage to swim past them with ease, mainly due to the Frog Suit that Princess Toadstool has advised him to wear.
Names in other languages
Notes and references