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The Intricacies of Liquorice Cultivation: IELTS Reading Passage with Questions & Answers

Updated on 07 February, 2024

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The Intricacies of Liquorice Cultivation Reading Passage

The cultivation of liquorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a story woven through history, ecology, and commerce. Native to the regions of Southern Europe and parts of Asia, liquorice has been a valued plant for thousands of years, not only for its culinary qualities but also for its role in traditional medicine. The growth of liquorice is a process that requires specific climatic conditions and soil types, which has led to its proliferation in particular global regions.

Liquorice grows as a herbaceous perennial, reaching a height of up to 1 meter with an extensive root system that can penetrate the soil to a depth of several meters. This root system is vital as it is the part of the plant that contains glycyrrhizin, a compound fifty times sweeter than sugar, and which has been harvested for both its unique flavor profile and purported health benefits.

The plant thrives in well-drained soils in deep valleys with full sun exposure. It is resistant to drought conditions, but too much water can lead to root rot, making the choice of planting site crucial. Historically, liquorice was cultivated extensively in the Mediterranean region, but over the centuries, its cultivation has spread to other parts of the world, including the United States and Russia.

The harvesting of liquorice roots typically begins in the plant's fourth year when the concentration of glycyrrhizin is at its peak. The process is labor-intensive, requiring the roots to be dug out by hand or with specialized machinery. Once harvested, the roots are dried, processed, and often ground into a powder or turned into extracts, which are then used as ingredients in various products, ranging from confectionery to herbal remedies.

While the demand for liquorice remains high, concerns over sustainable cultivation practices have come to the forefront. Overharvesting can lead to soil depletion and a reduction in the plant's population. In response, many growers are turning to organic farming methods and implementing crop rotation practices to ensure the long-term viability of liquorice cultivation.


Q1. Liquorice is a perennial plant indigenous to which regions?

A. Northern Europe and Asia

B. Southern Europe and parts of Asia

C. South America

D. Australia

Q2. The sweet-tasting compound found in liquorice roots is known as __________.

Q3. True or False: Liquorice plants can grow in both drought and overly wet conditions.

Q4. Harvesting of liquorice roots is generally done in which year of growth?

A. First

B. Second

C. Third

D. Fourth

Q5. Fill in the blanks: Liquorice has been valued for its __________ qualities and its role in __________ medicine.

Q6. True or False: The liquorice plant has a shallow root system.

Q7. The commercial cultivation of liquorice has expanded beyond the Mediterranean to include countries like __________ and __________.

Q8. True or False: Liquorice roots are harvested by hand to prevent damage to the glycyrrhizin compound.

Q9. Fill in the blanks: Concerns over __________ have influenced liquorice growers to adopt __________ farming methods.

Q10. True or False: Crop rotation is detrimental to the sustainable cultivation of liquorice.


A1. B. Southern Europe and parts of Asia

Liquorice is native to Southern Europe and parts of Asia.

A2. glycyrrhizin

Glycyrrhizin is the compound in liquorice roots responsible for its sweetness.

A3. False

Liquorice is drought-resistant but susceptible to root rot in overly wet conditions.

A4. D. Fourth

Liquorice roots are harvested in the fourth year to ensure a high concentration of glycyrrhizin.

A5. culinary, traditional

Liquorice is prized for its culinary use and role in traditional medicine.

A6. False

The liquorice plant is known for its extensive root system.

A7. the United States, Russia

The cultivation of liquorice has expanded to the United States and Russia, among other countries.

A8. True

Harvesting liquorice roots by hand or with machinery helps preserve the quality of the glycyrrhizin.

A9. sustainable cultivation, organic

Sustainability concerns have led to the adoption of organic farming methods in liquorice cultivation.

A10. False

Crop rotation is a sustainable practice beneficial to the long-term cultivation of liquorice.

Concluding Paragraph:

Understanding the intricacies of liquorice growth not only broadens knowledge but also sharpens the analytical skills necessary for IELTS reading tasks. This article, with its rich descriptive passage and carefully constructed questions, offers IELTS learners an excellent resource to practice and prepare for the exam. Each question is designed to challenge and enhance comprehension skills, while the explanations provided help to clarify any ambiguities. As test-takers engage with this content, they will build the confidence needed to excel in the IELTS Reading section, moving one step closer to achieving their desired band score.

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