BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 447

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 447

IELTS Academic Reading Test


The plant communities that grow on the arid sandy soils of the south-western Australia depend on fire for their survival. The land here is nutrient deficient and in summer so baked by the sun that a forest of tall trees cannot grow. Instead there is a low bush mixed with a scatter of trees, few of which are above 20 feet high. It is a wonderland with flowers of great beauty to botanists, very few of which have been seen growing in the wild before.

For this one corner of the continent contains no less than 12,000 different variety of plant species and 87 per cent of them grow nowhere else in the world. This individuality stems from the fact that, 50 million years ago, Australia was partly covered by a shallow sea that separated the western continent part from the rest. As Australia gradually warmed, this sea dried up, but it left behind a wide chunk of sand, so that the western corner is cut off by desert and its ancient isolation is still visible.

Fire has regularly destroyed this land throughout its recent geological history. The plants have evolved with it, so now they are able to survive this destruction and use it to their own advantage. The eucalypts or gum trees that grow there often take the peculiar form called mallee, Species that elsewhere become normal-looking trees, grow here in such a peculiar way that they are thought to be a completely different breed. Instead of a single trunk that only has branches, they have a massive rootstock from which rise half a dozen thin trunks of a similar height.

It looks as if they had been cut/trimmed to size. When fire sweeps through mallee, the slender trunks are totally burnt and destroyed. But the rootstock, bears a ring of strong buds from which new stems rapidly sprout. They grow more quickly than the old, partly because the ground has been fertilised by the ash of other plants recently, and partly because, there are few survivors having well-established root systems competing for those nutrients.

The bottlebrush related to the eucalypts, produces exceptional clusters of bright red flowers at the end of its stems, which attract indigenous birds. But it will not shed any seed unless there is a fire. So, examining a bottlebrush can reveal how long it is since fire passed. You just have to count the number of clusters of seeds still attached along the branch.

The banksia, a tree from protea family, also relies on fire. It takes about one year for the seeds to mature. Like the bottlebrush, some banksias will not shed their seeds unless there is an incidence of fire. Indeed, it is impossible to remove them from the plant because they are held in hard woody capsules. But as the flames burn the branches, the intense heat open the capsules.

By releasing their seeds only after a fire, the banksias make sure that they fall on well-cleaned, brightly lit ground which was fertilised with ash recently. This country also headquarters ‘grass tree’, which is neither exactly a grass nor a tree. It’s a distant relative of lilies. But it’s long narrow leaves make it look like grass, and they are born in a great shock on the top of the stem that is just like the trunk of a tree and has about 10 feet height.

However, the core of this trunk is not timber, but fibre and what looks like a bark, is in fact the compacted bases of leaves, which are shed annually. A copious flow of gum keep the bases glued together and create heat insulation. Since the plant sheds one ring of leaves in a year, counting the rings gives proof of its age.


15. The S-W part of Australia is called ……………………………… for botanists.

16. ……………………………… of different kinds of plants in S-W part of Australia can only be found in that area.

17. ……………………………… divided the Australian continent once upon a time.

18. When temperature slowly rose in Australia, the sea disappeared and leaves behind ………………………………area.

Choose the correct letter – A,B,C or D

19. What is unusual about the land in S-W Australia ?

A. cut off from the rest of the continent

B. nutrient deficient soil

C. many endangered plants

D. unchanged soil for many years

20. What is the importance of fire to S-W Australia ?

A. it’s an annual problem

B. it caused permanent damage to soil few years ago

C. vegetation depends on it

D. it keeps the land isolated

21. Mallee is a …..

A. type of a tree with multiple appendages rising from the ground

B. a tree with strong base above ground

C. part of a tree under the surface

D. burnt remains of a tree

22. How fire effect the bottlebrush tree ?

A. only grow in the ash left after a fire incident

B. birdlife likes the burnt plant

C. fire prevents birds by keeping them away

D. fire helps the tree in releasing its seeds

23. How fire effect banksia growth ?

A. fire carries seed to less fertile areas

B. the ash from the fire destroys oxygen in the ground

C. high intensity heat force the seed cases to open.

D. fire destroys other plants

Do the following statements agree with the given information ?

TRUE – if the statement agrees

FALSE – if the statement contradicts

NOT GIVEN – if there is no information

24. Majority of the plants are familiar to botanists in S-W Australia –

25. Eucalyptus in S-W Australia has a different appearance than others –

26. Fire affects Eucalyptus in S-W Australia –

27. You can tell the age of a bottlebrush by looking at it –

28. The physical composition of grass tree is different from how it looks –

IELTS Academic Reading Test


BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 447

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IELTS Academic Reading Test


16. 87%



19. B

20. C

21. A

22. D

23. C


25. TRUE



28. TRUE

IELTS Academic Reading Test

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