From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
Spinning Flowers are red flowers that act as rotating platforms in Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars. Spinning Flowers are found throughout the game and are used to reach high places. When Mario jumps onto the flower, he begins to spin in a clockwise direction. When he jumps off, he is launched high and far in one direction. However, if Mario stands on a Spinning Flower for too long, he gets dizzy and falls off.
In Paper Mario, purple Spinning Flowers appear on Lavalava Island. In this game, they only have petals, with no "base" face in the middle. When Mario jumps on one and the player hits the button, Mario will be propelled in the air. This lets Mario reach higher than he could before, and allows him to reach objects way up in the air. This also helps him find the Fearsome 5 that got lost playing hide-n-sneak in Jade Jungle.
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