Don't let them get turned into mushrooms!

Pikmin are the name of the tiny half-plant, half-animal creatures that help Captain Olimar after he crash lands on a mysterious planet. With only 30 days of life support, Olimar must take full advantage of the different attributes of the red, blue and yellow Pikmin as they progress from leaf to bud to flower, in order to collect the vital spaceship parts needed to return home. Up to 100 Pikmin can be under Olimar's control, or assigned in smaller groups to perform different tasks such as building bridges, breaking rocks, pulling weeds, carrying energy pellets back to their home 'onions', or fighting one of the many varieties of Pikmin-decimating enemies that live on the planet.

Here on Earth, a full-plant version of the flower Pikmin has sprouted, possibly left behind by Captain Olimar as he continues his galactic adventures! The Nintendo of America press release and an extreme close-up of the flower itself are below.

It's no secret that the main concept behind Pikmin's design came forth when Shigeru Miyamoto was gardening in his backyard. Nintendo has taken the idea and run with it. Beginning in 2002, Pikmin fans will be able to grow real-life "Pikmin" flowers.

The flower, a member of the plant genus Sutera, is a whole new breed called Bacopa Cabana. It will officially be named as "The Pikmin Flower." Inspired by the yellow Pikmin, the flower features five white petals and a yellow center.

"This extraordinary marketing initiative to consumers demonstrates that at the core of Nintendo is creativity," says Peter Main, executive vice president, sales and marketing, Nintendo of America. "We used a variety of innovative and unusual activities to build anticipation for the Nintendo GameCube. Naming a flower after a video game is just one more way Nintendo is 'seeding' creative marketing."

With the help of Syngenta Seeds, consumers will be able to purchase The Pikmin Flower in April 2002 under the Proven Winners brand, a top-selling line of plants and flowers. It will be available at garden centers across the country in hanging baskets and mixed containers.

Watch out for Bulborbs...