A Fire Flower is a power-up from the Super Mario Bros. series of video games. It transforms Mario (or Luigi) into Fire Mario (or Luigi). Fire Mario's trademark distinction is his all-white or mostly-white suit in many of the Mario games; however, Fire Mario is bright orange all over in the original version of Super Mario Bros. 3, and has a feather in his cap in Super Mario Land 2 for Game Boy (most likely to illustrate the difference on the Game Boy's monochrome screen; in the official artwork for that game, Fire Mario is depicted with the character's regular color scheme). Fire Mario has the ability to throw bouncing fireballs at enemies. In Super Mario Land 2 Wario can transform into Fire Wario as well, when he fights against Mario.
Fire Flowers are routinely acquired when Mario hits a "?" block from below, but occasionally they're hidden in brick blocks or music-note blocks. In Super Mario Bros. 3, Fire Flowers can also be acquired in a game of "Concentration".
Fireballs can also be used sometimes to defeat Bowser and the Koopalings, with multiple hits. Buzzy Beetles are immune to fireballs in every Mario game in which they appear, as are many enemies found in fortresses and ghost houses such as Boos and Thwomps.
In Super Mario World, Fire Flowers acquired a more tulip-like appearance. The flowers in the previous games vaguely resembled poppies. The Super Smash Bros. games and New Super Mario Bros. still used the original design, however.
In general, Fire Flowers will not appear on-screen if Mario is small. This is not the case, however, in Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros., in which the player can hold an item in reserve that will automatically descend from the screen when Mario gets hit. In the original Super Mario Bros. for NES, there is a glitch in the game where Mario can be both small and have the ability to shoot. To acquire this state, a player must hit Bowser and the axe that destroys the bridge at the same time while Mario is big or has the fire ability in a castle level. If executed correctly, Mario will flash to show he has been harmed, but he will remain big and the clip of Mario talking to Toad will be normal. In the following level, when Mario hits a question box, a mushroom will appear (even though he is big) which will make Mario small, but he will be wearing a white suit. When the button to throw the fireball is pressed, Mario will appear big when throwing the ball, but return to small after he throws it.
Usually, if Mario makes a Fire Flower appear and shrinks before touching it, the Fire Flower will only change him into Super Mario. This is not the case in Super Mario World, New Super Mario Bros., or in the Game Boy Advance remake of Super Mario Bros. 3--in these games, small Mario will be transformed directly into Fire Mario upon touching a Fire Flower.
In Super Mario Bros., most versions of Super Mario World, and the original Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 3, Fire Mario will revert all the way down to small Mario if hit. In the American version of Super Mario Bros. 3 and New Super Mario Brothers, however, if Fire Mario is hit, he merely reverts back to Super Mario, giving the player the ability to get fully powered-up with the next item that appears, rather than having to first grab a Super Mushroom to become Super Mario. This trait would later resurface in Super Mario Advance 2 and New Super Mario Bros.
In Super Mario World, an enemy defeated by a fireball typically turns into a gold coin worth 200 points which can then be collected by Mario. This trait was later enabled in Super Mario Advance 4 by an e-Reader card, and then carried over to New Super Mario Bros. (However, in this game, the only way to get 200 points from a coin is to hit a block with a coin in it.
Fire Flowers are set to make a reappearance in Super Mario Galaxy, along with the Super Mushroom and the Starman. This marks the first appearance of classic power-ups in a 3D Mario Platform game. Unlike previous games, however, the Fire Flower is lost after a certain amount of time, not through being hit by an enemy. The Ice Flower from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time will make a reappearance as well.
Strangely, fire flowers are waterproof, as they can be thrown during water levels.
In Super Mario Bros. 3, Fire Flowers are depicted on cards (referred to as "panels" in the Super Nintendo and Game Boy Advance remakes of the game) that are collected by the player to end a common stage. The card rapidly flashes between the Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Starman objects. If Mario manages to collect three Fire Flower cards, he gains three extra lives.
In Super Mario Bros. 3, Fire Flowers are also seen when Mario enters a "spade" card on the world map. The spade game is played somewhat like a slot machine game, only the player is trying to create one full image instead of three side-by-side images. As with the panels, the image varies between a Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Starman, and if the Fire Flower is successfully completed, the player gains three extra lives.
The Fire Flower appears in all games of the Super Smash Bros series as an item that can be used against other players. In these games, the Fire Flower acts as a flamethrower, as Mario and Luigi have the fireball ability by default. Additionally, Mario gets an optional Fire Mario color scheme in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Luigi also has a Fire Luigi outfit in the first two Super Smash Bros. games. It has yet to be confirmed if Luigi will join the fighter roster of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
The Fire Flower makes another appearance in Paper Mario (and its sequel, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door) as a weapon rather than a power-up. When used, it inflicts three points of damage to all enemies by rapidly shooting fireballs at them. Fire-resistant enemies take no damage (such as Clefts or Spike Tops) but ice enemies take extra (White Clubbas and Frost Piranhas) and Dry Bones take over quintuple. An in-game dialogue also states that Mario uses Fire Flowers by eating them. They can also be cooked and made into a healthy soup. They also appeared in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time as a Bros item, with alternate versions, such as the Ice Flower, Copy Flower, and Mix Flower, appearing as it did in Super Mario Bros. 3. In Super Mario RPG, flowers are used to raise the player's Flower Points, which are required to use the characters' special abilities.
Fire Flowers were also a staple in the Super Mario Bros. cartoons. However, in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Mario used more than just Fire Flowers to become Fire Mario; he sometimes used a Starman and even an enchanted plumbing snake one time to make the transformation. Additionally, on the The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, Fire Mario is referred to instead as Super Mario, with the plumber's regular form not ever using the adjective. In the later cartoons, which were truer to the spirit of the games, the Mario Bros. became the Fire Mario Bros. only when they grabbed Fire Flowers. Interesting to note is that, while Mario retained his original color scheme in the cartoons even though they came out after Nintendo started using the modern color scheme, his color scheme as Fire Mario was different in each series depending on which game the series was based on. In all the cartoons, though, Mario would shoot fireballs with his fingertips rather than throw them from his palm as in the games. As well as Mario and Luigi, other characters, such as Toad, Princess Toadstool and even King Koopa used Fire Flowers in the Mario cartoons. In some cases, the fireballs from the flowers could be used on their own without transformation.
Strangely, Fire Flowers were completely absent from the Super Mario Bros. comic books. The only appearance of Fire Mario or Fire Luigi was in the prologue short, where Luigi is shown throwing fireballs at some Beezos; however, he is still wearing his regular outfit rather than his Fire Luigi outfit.