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
Identification of Cryptomeria japonica for homeowners association May 09, 2007 - Good morning. We are wondering if Cryptomeria japonica trees can fit under the term "pine like". We used the term pine like when asking for our home owners associations approval and we put in a Cr... view the full question and answer
Why do some flowers open during the day and close at night? April 08, 2009 - My son is doing a science fair project on the California Poppies. We are trying to find the definitive answer on why the flowers open during the day and close at night. view the full question and answer