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Wednesday - September 14, 2005

From: Brooklyn, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Smarty Plants on air purification
Answered by: Joe Marcus


What plant purifies the air?


The short answer is every living plant purifies the air. All plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and use it in their metabolic processes. They also use oxygen, but actually produce more oxygen -- as a by-product of photosynthesis -- than they consume.

In a now-famous series of experiments, Dr. Bill Wolverton, a NASA scientist, showed the effectiveness of several species of commonly grown indoor (mostly tropical) plants in removing volatile organic compounds, VOC's, from the air.

Many people believe indoor plants are very effective at reducing illness cause by breathing VOC's in the home and office. The illness is often referred to as "Sick Building Syndrome." It is likely that many plants that are not used indoors are just as effective at removing VOC's and other air impurities from the air outdoors.

Here is a list of plants shown to be effective in removing VOC's from indoor air included in a very nice article on the subject.

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Why is my 3 year old Redbud not flowering in San Marcos, TX?
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August 18, 2013 - How does the Styrax youngae differ from other Texas styrax? Where can I find a description of all the Texas styrax trees?
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Forum for reporting rare plants
July 05, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I was wondering if there is a forum for Texans to submit sightings of native plants they find? I live in Medina County and 2 years ago had a rare native plant growing in my yard ...
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