En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - September 14, 2005

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

QUESTION:

What plant purifies the air?

ANSWER:

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.
 

More General Botany Questions

Genetics of Anemone berlandieri flower colors
December 01, 2010 - Anemone heterophylla or Anemone berlandieri, Genetics. Is the variation in the flower color due to Genetic Incomplete dominance or Codominance? The same codominance seen in carnations.
view the full question and answer

Carolina wolfberry blooms but doesn't produce fruit
May 10, 2012 - I have had my carolina wolfberry for 2 years now ( I got it at the Wildflower center), it seems to be doing well, creeping all over the flower bed with some branches on the ground up to 6 ft long. It ...
view the full question and answer

Science Fair Question
December 12, 2011 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, I'm working on a project for the science fair and I need to find a plant that can survive in all climates in order for my experiment to work. What plant should I use? I hope ...
view the full question and answer

Dictionary of botanical names
September 02, 2011 - I am looking for an online resource that will tell me what the botanical names mean, for example, Cornus florida. Why is it named that? Surely somewhere there is information that explains the meanin...
view the full question and answer

Halophytic biofilter plants native to Wisconsin
July 12, 2013 - I am trying to design a biofilter using native WI plants. These plants must be very salt tolerant and low maintenance (as this biofilter will be used to treat storm water runoff from a salt shed), so ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center