English Comprehension : Passage 11

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Read the following passage and select the most appropriate option.

Passage 11

Orchids are unique in having the most highly developed of all blossoms, in which the usual male and female reproductive organs are fused in a single structure called the column. The column is designed so that a single pollination will fertilize hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of seeds, so microscopic and light they are easily carried by the breeze. Surrounding the column are three sepals and three petals, sometimes easily recognizable as such, often distorted into gorgeous, weird, but always functional shapes. The most noticeable of the petals is called the labellum, or lip. It is often dramatically marked as an unmistakable landing strip to attract the specific insect the orchid has chosen as its pollinator.

To lure their pollinators from afar, orchids use appropriately intriguing shapes, colors and scents. At least 50 different aromatic compounds have been analyzed in the orchid family, each blended to attract one or at most a few species of insects or birds. Some orchids even change their scents to interest different insects at different times.

Once the right insect has been attracted, some orchids present all sorts of one-way obstacle courses to make sure it does not leave until pollen has been accurately placed or removed. By such ingenious adaptations to specific pollinators, orchids have avoided the hazards of rampant crossbreeding in the wild, assuring the survival of species as discrete identities. At the same time they have made themselves irresistible to collectors.

1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) Birds
(B) Insects
(C) Flowers
(D) Perfume

2. The orchid is unique because of
(A) the habitat in which it lives
(B) the structure of its blossom
(C) the variety of products that can be made from it
(D) the length of its life

3. The word ‘fused’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) combined
(B) hidden
(C) fertilized
(D) produced

4. How many orchid seeds are typically pollinated at one time?
(A) 200
(B) 2,000
(C) 20,000
(D) 200,000

5. Which of the following is a kind of petal?
(A) The column
(B) The sepal
(C) The stem
(D) The labellum

6. The ‘labellum’ in the passage is most comparable to
(A) a microscope
(B) an obstacle course
(C) an airport runway
(D) a racetrack

7. The word ‘lure’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) attract
(B) recognize
(C) follow
(D) help

8. Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a means by which an orchid attracts insects?
(A) size
(B) Shape
(C) Color
(D) Perfume

9. The word ‘their’ in in the passage refers to
(A) orchids
(B) birds
(C) insects
(D) species

10. Which of the following statements about orchids’ scents does the passage support?
(A) They are effective only when an insect is near the blossom.
(B) Harmful insects are repelled by them.
(C) They are difficult to tell apart.
(D) They may change at different times.

11. The word ‘placed’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) estimated
(B) measured
(C) deposited
(D) identified

12. The word ‘discrete’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) complicated
(B) separate
(C) inoffensive
(D) functional


Answers :

1-C, 2-B, 3-A, 4-D, 5-D, 6-C, 7-A, 8-A, 9-A, 10-D, 11-C, 12-B

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