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Describe a poisonous plant

IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card 491 with Model Answer:

Describe a poisonous plant you know about.

You should say:
  • what plant it is
  • where this plant could be found
  • how you know about this plant
and explain how poisonous this plant is.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]



Model Answer:
When we think of trees and plants, we don’t generally like to associate anything bad or dangerous with them. But, unfortunately, some plants can be dangerous because of their “poisonous” nature, and today, I would like to talk about one such plant.

The name of this poisonous plant is “Pangi”. Being native to the Southeast Asia region, this plant is very much rightly called the “Nature’s Monster”. Often reaching a height of about 50 feet, this wild and undomesticated plant usually thrives in the tropical weather system where the temperature hovers around 25 to 28 degree Celsius throughout the year. Blooming with large and green flowers, these tall plants grow large and heart-shaped leaves, and they can be found in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Initially, I had come to know about this plant from a textbook during my high school years, but I actually saw and touched one in real life when I was visiting a botanical garden in my country much later. By the way, initially, after seeing that tree in the botanical garden, I couldn’t quite believe that such tall trees “with a such normal and innocent look” could prove out to be so dangerous and poisonous, after all.

Having said that, however, even though these Pangi plants are very poisonous, one of the most interesting things about it is that the seeds of this particular plant make up most of the diet of the “Babirusa” (an animal of the “swine family”. Besides, its seeds, when dried, cured, coloured and pierced, can be used to make jewellery.

Anyway, as interesting as some of the facts about this plant may be, the truth is that all parts of it are dangerous and poisonous for humans, especially, the fruits and seeds which contain a rather high and toxic level of hydrogen cyanide. And when this hydrogen cyanide is ingested, it can cause anything from loss of energy, dizziness and shortness of breath to comma and even death.

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