In the United Kingdom, a non-profit organization carried out a study on the Cotoneaster de Franchet, an evergreen shrub capable of absorbing air pollution near main roads. However, according to its results, its efficiency is approximately 20% higher than that of other plants.
A plant that is more efficient than the others against pollution
The Cotonéastre de Franchet or Cotoneaster franchise is a evergreen shrub native to China, Burma and Thailand. Growing up to three meters in height, this one has oval-shaped leaves 2 to 3.5 cm long and 1 to 1.5 cm wide. Its flowers give fruit, namely small red piridions 6 to 9 mm in diameter. However, this shrub often adorns the edge of busy roads in order to reduce air pollution. In the United Kingdom, the non-profit organization Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) which promotes gardening and horticulture has published a study in Environments in October 2020. The objective was to compare different types of shrubs, including the famous cotoneaster, but also hawthorn and red cedar among others.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Tijana Blanusa, estimates that in just one week, a dense hedge of Cotoneaster franchise a meter long can absorb a quantity of pollution equivalent to the emissions of a car on a journey of about 800 kilometers. This shrub would be 20% more efficient in this task than the other plants taken into account in the study.
Encourage the population to create green spaces
Besides the roadside, gardens are also likely to accommodate this efficient shrub. Nevertheless, the RHS estimates that while 33% of the population is affected by air pollution in the UK, only 6% of residents try to mitigate it thanks to their garden. The survey making it possible to advance these figures concerned 2,056 people across the Channel.
It should be noted that the work of the RHS is part of a more global project consisting in finding solutions to reduce environmental problems such as air pollution, floods and heat waves by encouraging the creation of green spaces and gardens in individuals. The researchers stress that they regularly identify “super-plants” whose qualities, combined with those of other types of vegetation, allow some environmental benefits. This would also benefit wildlife by creating new habitats.
These include other plants such as hawthorn and privet. These make it possible to reduce the rains in summer and therefore local flooding. As for ivy, it helps to cool buildings. For the researchers of the study, encouraging individuals to use this kind of vegetation could weigh in the balance of the fight against climate change.