34. Reading Skills Comprehension: NEEM


Familiar to most people for its medicinal properties, the Neem is recognised by few despite its distinctive, curved leaves and an annual profusion of star-shaped sweet-scented flowers. It is a medium-sized or large tree with a straight trunk and evergreen, a native of India, Burma and Sri Lanka. This is really an amazing tree. People are most likely to draw off these trees because of their ignorance towards nature. If people really come to know even only a few of the benefits of this amazing tree or they feel how its presence could benefit people it is never likely to be chopped off.

Young leaves are pale, tender green tinged with rust. These are eaten on New Year days to ward off sickness during the coming year. Some people to whom the tree is sacred, also festoon fresh leaves across their houses when there is an epidemic of chickenpox or to keep evil spirits away when there is a birth or death. Dried leaves put in drawers or cupboards keep out moths and cockroaches. Another use for these ‘magic’ leaves is in poultice form for healing wounds. This way the benefits of this tree keep benefitting the people.

From the yellow fruit is obtained the famous Margosa oil, so effective in the treatment of leprosy and skin diseases. External application of oil from the seed is believed to cure rheumatism. The bark and gum yield valuable medicines. In fact, every part of this tree is of some value.

Neem timber is beautifully mottled, hard and heavy and is used for shipbuilding, carts and furniture. Wood from old trees is so bitter that no insects will attack it.                              

  1. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions briefly

(a) For what is the Neem tree well known?

(b) Its leaves can be recognized by its shape which is like…..   

 (c) What is the belief of some people about the leaves of the Neem?

(d) Why are young leaves eaten on the New Year ’s Eve?

(e) Leprosy and skin diseases can be fought with the help of

(f) Neem timber is used for building various things. Give a few examples.

(g) Why do insects do not attack the furniture made from Neem timber?

(h) Why are the leaves of the Neem called ‘magic’ leaves?


  1. (a) its medicinal properties.

(b) the annual profusion of a star and its curves.

(c) Some people believe that neem leaves keep away the epidemic of chicken pox.            

(d) They are eaten to ward off sickness during the coming year

 (e) Margosa oil obtained from the yellow fruits.      

 (f) ships, carts and furniture.

(g) its wood is very bitter.                              

(h) because they also heal wounds.

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