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Orchids, bromeliads join list of air scrubbers

Posted: Friday, February 21, 1992

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VIRGINIA – The list of plants that purify the air continues to grow.

Orchids and bromeliads removed air-polluting chemicals from tightly sealed environments in experiments conducted by former NASA scientist Bill Wolverton The two flowering plants were shown to release oxygen and convert carbon dioxide to organic acids during the night when stomata were open, Wolverton reported. Dendrobium orchids that were used in the experiments were able to remove acetone, methyl alcohol, and ethyl acetate – chemicals released when humans exhale. Both plants removed more xylene from the air during dark periods. The plants’ increased capacity for air-purifying activity during periods of darkness demonstrates how bromeliads and orchids can be used in combination with plants such as Dracaena marginata to stabilize night/day levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen, Wolverton said.

Greenhouse Manager – February 1992