Saur was given to Red when he accidentally released all of Professor Oak's Pokémon from his lab (due to Oak scaring Red by accusing him of being a thief). After Red caught back almost all of Oak's Pokémon, Red found Saur in the closed Viridian Gym. Saur was scared, but Red used calming words to gain his trust, which caught Oak's interest, as in the past the Bulbasaur was disobedient to the level of using Tackle on him. Disaster struck as a wild Machoke appeared and attacked them, (the Seed Pokémon's Vine Whip attack did little damage). When all bets were off, Red took a wild guess and presumed that with the giant seed on Saur's back being its key trait, exposing him to rays of sunlight would be worth an attempt, and opened the curtains on the window, allowing him to use Solar Beam and defeat the bulky Pokémon in a flash. After the battle, Professor Oak saw the bonding occurring between Saur and Red, as well as the fact that Saur had learned how to use Solar Beam, and allowed Red to keep him, along with a Pokédex (like the one that he'd also given to Blue). As a Bulbasaur, he was able to learn many more powerful moves, assisted Red in capturing multiple Pokémon such as Pika and a Fearow and helped win the Boulder Badge and Cascade Badge.
Afterwards, Red continued to use him in various other competitions such as the race on Kanto Route 12, where the honey slathered on his head proved useful in catching Red's newest party member, Snor, waking the Snorlax up by enticing its voracious appetite. He was also taken north to the Pokémon Tower soon afterwards, where he defeated Koga's Gastly by sucking it up, thus freeing Blue and his Charmeleon from its control, as well as the rest of the Pokémon the evil Team Rocket triad member was using.
He evolved into Ivysaur in Wartortle Wars at the gates of Celadon City, when he battled an attacking Primeape. Green, distracting Red with fake applause for this evolution, sold Red a bunch of fake items that did nothing but hinder him. Red proceeded to give chase on Green to get his money back, Green used this opportunity to steal Red's two Badges. However, a chain of events unfolded in the Rocket Hideout, that left Red (disguised as a Team Rocket Grunt) and Green allied. Saur's Vine Whip was used to try to capture the Mew that appeared before them. After they managed to save Mew from being caught by the Rockets, Saur was accidentally under the temporary control of Blue when Red and Blue's Poké Balls were swapped. Blue toughened it up much more while Red did little to strengthen Blue's Pokémon. In the process, Saur, Poli, and Pika adopted Blue's harsh mannerisms, and for a while were more than ready to attack their Trainer after returning.
After a long and exhausting battle in the Silph Co. against both Lt. Surge and Sabrina, he evolved again in The Winged Legends, while he, Blue's Charizard, and Blasty were battling the merged version of Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno. After its evolution, Red told Saur to unleash a powerful Solar Beam that tipped the scales in the three starters' favor. In his newly evolved form, he aided in the capture of Mewtwo which, was left in Blaine's care after Red catches it in the Master Ball. Saur was the first Pokémon seen with Red by Giovanni at the Viridian Gym, but was unable to participate in the actual battle due to Giovanni's Dugtrio shattering his Poké Ball's opening mechanism. At the Pokémon League, he was the first Pokémon Red sent out against Blue, and managed to use Poison Powder on Blue's Charizard before it could attack. In the end, following Poli and Pika, he was able to defeat the Charizard by using the Thunder Cloud created by his teammates in conjunction with his Vine Whip acting as a lightning rod. He was also used in the battle against Bruno and his Onix, but was then defeated when Bruno's fellow Kanto Elite Four members came and brainwashed him into attacking Saur, Snor, and Gyara. He was then seen a year later, shattering a boulder with a strong Vine Whip as Red was training for the position of Viridian's Leader . Red rightfully won but abdicated the position in favor of Blue. Saur would then go to see much usage in the final battle against the Masked Man. After the fight was over, he was taken to Mt. Silver to train with Gold, and doesn't appear again until the FireRed & LeafGreen chapter.
In the Sevii Islands, Saur learned the move exclusive to the Grass-type starter families, Frenzy Plant, after training on Ultima's Jump Path, Catch Path, and Battle Path courses. This resulted in him and Blue's Charizard learning the ultimate attacks. Afterwards, the two boys' inability to perfect their respective move's accuracy would come to haunt them in the battle against Sird, Carr, and Orm. When Deoxys appeared, Saur nearly died shielding Red from the fearsome Pokémon's Psycho Boost attack. He managed to still gather the strength to fight, however, and participated in the battle on Trainer Tower against Deoxys' clones (an ability Deoxys gained after being caught by Giovanni). Saur then agreed to be traded to Blue again to allow Red to fly on Charizard and defeat the evil leader. After Giovanni's defeat, Saur was traded back to its original owner, but the two soon found themselves petrified by Sird with the four other Pokédex Holders and their Pokémon. It wasn't until Emerald managed to complete his mission and make a wish upon Jirachi that he regained mobility (over two months later), upon which Saur, with his trusty Frenzy Plant attack, helped destroy Guile Hideout's fake Kyogre.
In the Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire chapter, Saur is revealed to have gained the ability to Mega Evolve into Mega Venusaur. He is used alongside a Mega Evolved Blasty to battle Archie and Maxie.
| Using Vine Whip|
as a Bulbasaur
| Using Cut as|
| A † shows that the move was used recently, unless all moves fit this case or there are fewer than five known moves.
In the games
In the core series
Given to player
In the Kanto-based games (excluding Pokémon Yellow), the player has the option to choose Bulbasaur as their starter Pokémon.
In the Johto-based games, a Venusaur can be seen as one of the Pokémon that the game variation of Red has on his team at the end of the quest. The same Venusaur also appears during the Pokémon World Tournament in Black 2 and White 2, where its gender varies.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Main article: Pokémon Trainer (Super Smash Bros.)
Red's Ivysaur in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
In many ways, Ivysaur is the balance between the heavyweight, hard-hitting Charizard and the lightweight, agile Squirtle. Despite this, it lacks the heavy-hitting moves of Charizard and the fast attack rate of Squirtle. It is very good at racking up damage percentages with its attacks, but has a very hard time KOing its opponent since its strongest finishing moves are too slow to pose a threat. Ivysaur especially suffers in aerial combat and recovery. Despite these flaws, Ivysaur can be used to irritate its foes and rack up damage with its attacks (especially Bullet Seed). Its throws are decent, as its forward and down throws can leave the opponent vulnerable to combos. It uses mostly physical Grass-type attacks, such as Bullet Seed, a rapidly upward-hitting move, and Vine Whip, a tether recovery move that shoots vines out to latch onto edges of a stage and pull Ivysaur up. Like all tether recoveries, however, Vine Whip can be edgehogged, sending Ivysaur to its doom. It also uses the projectile attack Razor Leaf. It uses Solar Beam in the Pokémon Trainer's Final Smash, Triple Finish.
In the Subspace Emissary, Ivysaur is found shortly after Pokémon Trainer is introduced.
- Although Red seemed excited when Saur first evolved into Ivysaur, the levels given for the Pokémon in the first volume show that he should have reached his evolution stage long ago, which would only indicate that Red was using his Pokédex to stop the evolution before, as that is the only way to stop a Pokémon from evolving in the series. Likewise, the second volume lists Saur as a level 38 Ivysaur, which is 6 levels higher than what would have been needed to evolve to its final stage.