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This article is about a recurring plant. For the type of item container found in Donkey Kong Country Returns, see Item container § Donkey Kong Country Returns / Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D.
Artwork of a cactus from Super Mario Odyssey.
Artwork from Super Mario Odyssey
First appearance Yume Kōjō: Doki Doki Panic (1987, overall)
Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988, Super Mario franchise)
Latest appearance The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)
Thorny flower
“Cacti also have flowers, did you know that? I haven't seen any, though... Do people eat cacti?”
Goombario, Paper Mario

Cactuses (or "cacti") are spiny desert plants that commonly appear as background objects, though occasionally they can be interacted with. In the Super Mario franchise, cactuses are most often represented by the Pokey enemy and its relatives.


Super Mario series[edit]

Super Mario Bros. 2[edit]

In Super Mario Bros. 2, tall cacti appear as platforms in desert stages. Compared to most of the other platforms in the game, they often appear in large groups, with the player needing to go over each. Pokeys can travel through them, making them a slight obstacle.

Super Mario Galaxy 2[edit]

Sand Sailer.png

In Super Mario Galaxy 2, cactuses appear as obstacles in the Slipsand Galaxy, specifically in Sailing the Sandy Seas. They temporarily destroy pieces of the Sand Bird when it runs into them, creating gaps.

Super Mario Odyssey[edit]

Cactuses later appear in Super Mario Odyssey, where they are found throughout the Sand Kingdom. If Mario runs into one of them, he will lose a piece of his Health Meter and a few of the thorns from the cactus will get stuck on his body. Mario can also destroy cactuses by running through them while riding Jaxi. Some smaller, round cactuses appear in the Sand Kingdom as well, and they behave the same way. One cactus can be captured and moved in order to reveal a shining spot that Mario can ground-pound to reveal a Power Moon.

Mario Kart series[edit]

In Mario Kart 64, cacti appear in Kalimari Desert as stationary obstacles that block the player, acting similar to trees. They return in the course's reappearances in Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart Tour and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. In Mario Kart: Super Circuit, cacti appear in Sunset Wilds, that returns in Mario Kart Tour, and Yoshi Desert. In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, cacti appear in the same capacity in Dry Dry Desert, returning in the course's reappearance in Mario Kart 8. In Mario Kart Wii, they appear with the same purpose in Dry Dry Ruins and Thwomp Desert. In Mario Kart 7, the Cact-X is designed after a cactus; it returns in Mario Kart Tour along with variants called the Cact-Ice, Cact-R, and Cact-B.

Paper Mario series[edit]

Paper Mario[edit]

In Paper Mario, cacti appear in Dry Dry Desert, with some resembling Pokeys in shape. A blue one and a stone one are used for navigation.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star[edit]

In Paper Mario: Sticker Star, cactuses appear as interactive objects in World 2. Attacking them with the hammer repeatedly causes their flowers to bloom and release coins.

Mario Party 3[edit]

Daisy preparing to jump over the cacti in Spiny Desert from Mario Party 3
Daisy prepares to take the shortcut through the cacti in Mario Party 3

In Mario Party 3, two cacti appear on a shortcut in Spiny Desert. To use the shortcut properly, the player character needs to jump over them. Failing to do so will cause the character to leap with pain to a corresponding sign elsewhere on the board. Hitting the first cactus takes them significantly before the shortcut's beginning, and hitting the second cactus (which has eyelashes and a flower crown) takes them slightly after the shortcut's end. As such, it can be useful to hit one depending on where the player needs to go.

Mario Pinball Land[edit]

In Mario Pinball Land, cactuses appear in the Shifting Sands Stage. Hitting a cactus awards 100 points and significantly knocks Mario back.

Mario & Luigi series[edit]

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time[edit]

In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, cacti appear in Gritzy Desert, where they act primarily as walls. A small maze of them appears in the northeast section. Shrooba Divers use small round cacti as projectiles in battle.

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam[edit]

In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Pokey-shaped cactuses appear in Doop Doop Dunes. They block roads and must be knocked away with hammer whacks, with taller ones requiring the Trio Hammer to get rid of all the segments before they grow back.

Donkey Kong franchise[edit]

New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat[edit]

In New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, cacti appear as common obstacles, usually stacked on top of each other to act as barricades. They can be knocked away with the Sound Wave Attack and first appear in Dawn Savanna. All versions of the game feature a level inside a giant cactus, called Cactus Mine.

Donkey Kong Country Returns[edit]

In Donkey Kong Country Returns, cacti appear as item containers in the Cave and Cliff area, with the former having a somewhat fungal appearance.

Mario Golf: Super Rush[edit]

Cactuses reappear in Mario Golf: Super Rush in Balmy Dunes on holes 16–18. They act as trees and will hurt the ball's lie upon collision. Smaller variants also appear in Spiky Palms.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie[edit]

Cactuses closely resembling their appearance in Super Mario Odyssey can be seen for a brief moment in The Super Mario Bros. Movie when Mario, Peach, and Toad are travelling through the Desert Area.