These Piranha Plants first appeared in Super Mario Kart in the course Choco Island 1 and 2. There are scattered around the track and even some in the mud. They snap their petals and don't move around.
Piranha Plants inhabit the quicksand funnels in Yoshi Desert on this game, and when a player is sucked into one, they are chomped by a Piranha Plant and spit out, losing time and precious Coins. Even though the two Choco Island courses appear as Retro Tracks, they are not armed with Piranha Plants.
Piranha Plants then appear in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! Mario Circuit, where there are a few of them on each side when turning a U turn, and they will bite you if you are too close to them. They also appear at the very end of the course. They acutally snap out at you, blocking your path. They also appear in Yoshi Circuit at more points, and are harder to avoid. Fake metal piranha plants appear in Waluigi Stadium. A big Piranha Plant is in the Dry Dry Desert.
They appear in Mario Circuit in this game as well! They appear in pipes (as in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!) and on the ground (as in Mario Kart 64). There are two that actually breathe fireballs at you.
They appear in the New Course Piranha Plant Slide and for the first time they have their own course. They also appear in the new course Music Park.
They reappear in 3DS Piranha Plant Slide, as well as a few other courses and also are now an obtainable item. The Piranha Plant living in the quicksand has been removed in Dry Dry Desert in this game. The Piranha Plant item puts a potted Piranha Plant at the front of the kart, which will lunge forward either once every second and a half, or every time the player presses their item button. When it lunges, it will destroy obstacles such as Bananas, collect Coins, knock over other racers, and give the user a small speed boost. It will disappear either ten seconds after activation, or after the tenth lunge.
In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Piranha Plant item cannot be stolen by a Boo while it is in use. Also, the Authority team in Renegade Roundup has Piranha Plants of their team colour with police lights on their heads. These lights flash brighter as the player approaches a renegade, and the Piranha Plant will chomp only when it gets close to them. If a renegade is chomped by one of these "Police Plants", they will be sent to the prison cell and lose their items.