IELTS Cue Card Sample 235 - Describe a poisonous plant you know about

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a poisonous plant you know about.

You should say:

  • what plant it is
  • where this plant is found
  • advantages and disadvantages of this plant

and explain how you know about this plant.


Sample Answer 1:

Angels trumpet, more specifically Brugmansia, is a poisonous plant which is available in our country and I have seen this plant many times in different locations in my hometown. Brugmansia has large and fragrant flowers and this is the most probable reason they are called angel’s trumpets. This plant is very closely related to the genus Datura. They are either semi-woody or shrub plants with pendulous and large flowers and they do not have any spines on their fruits.

This plant can be found in tropical areas of the world and since India is a tropical country, this is found in my country as well. This plant has some medical values and alkaloids found in this plant are used to make medicines like anti-asthmatic, anticholinergic, spasmolytic, and anaesthetic. Traditional usages of this plant include the treating of pains and aches.

This plant is highly toxic and the flower can cause disorder and hallucinations. The flower and the plants part can be very dangerous for children and we need to keep away the children from putting it in their mouth.

I mostly know about this plant from my childhood when the elder people prohibited us to go near this plat and strictly prohibited us from touching the flowers. Later I came to know more about this plant from a documentary and later on, I googled to find out the details of this plant. This is how I learned about this plant and its usages and toxicity.


Model Answer 2:

The range of plants in the plant kingdom is astounding and would surprise anyone with little interest in this subject. Some plants are carnivorous, some cure diseases while others can actually be deadly if consumed. From their ability to grow in water or on other plants to their ability to adapt to the new environment often baffle the botanists. Thank you for the topic that asks me to talk about a poisonous plant.  

I have actually seen or heard about many plants that can cause allergy and itching if someone touches them and some cause diarrhoea and vomiting if consumed by any means. To me, all of these plants are poisonous if not handled with care. However, I was quite dumbfounded when I learned that tomato plant which is found in many regions of Asia and the world could be poisonous.

I learned about the poisonous tomato plant accidentally when I was reading a journal called "Journal of Plant Physiology". Biologically tomato is a fruit but for culinary purposes, it is a vegetable. We also eat the tomato as a salad and it is almost an indispensable ingredient to prepare a salad. We use tomato in different dishes and almost every household around the globe knows this fruit.

However, tomato leaves and stems contain solanine that is toxic if ingested, causing digestive upset and nervous excitement. If someone rubs the tomato leaf in his/her fingers, it gives a bitter odour which is because of the poisonous substance in it. Even the raw or green tomato has a small bit of toxicity, which is not deadly at all. Ripe tomatoes do not contain any detectable tomatine. Tomato plants can be toxic to dogs if they eat large amounts of the fruit, or chew plant material.

The ripe tomato, which is usually red, has a lot of advantages, it contains lycopene which is an antioxidant, which helps prevent cancer. Tomato is also a rich source of Potassium and Vitamins. It should be eaten but we should avoid consuming leaves and stems. So tomato is a plant which has poisonous foliage but a very beneficial fruit.


Model Answer 3:

Have you ever smelt a plan that has strong and unpleasant odour? Well, if you have, then the chances are very good that you have come across a poisonous plant. Today, I would like to talk about one such poisonous plant which is called “tobacco” or Nicotiana tabacum.

Interestingly enough, even though, there are very few people in this world who don’t know about this plant, even fewer people consider this pant as poisonous because of its worldwide use for thousands of years if not more. It is from this tobacco plant that we get the highly addictive stimulant alkaloid nicotine as well as harmala alkaloids. Dried tobacco leaves are mainly used for smoking in cigarettes and cigars, as well as pipes and shishas. They can also be consumed as snuff, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco and snus. 

Anyway, even though, this tobacco plant is indigenous to the Americas, Australia, South West Africa and the South Pacific, it is actually found and grown in pretty much all over the world. However, to answer the question in which countries in the world grow it most - it would be China, followed by Brazil and India.

By the way, growing annually, this tobacco plant can grow up to 4 to 5 feet tall, with leaves up to 2 feet long.  And as for what kinds of lands are perfect for growing this plant, they grow best in places that are dry and warm. The best temperatures for growing tobacco are 68° to 86° F (20° to 30° C).

There are both advantages and disadvantages of tobacco plants. Talking about its advantages, the nicotine in this plant helps suppress appetite which means if we use tobacco, we will not gain weight. The advantage, of course, is its use can destroy our lungs and hearts.

Anyway, I know about this plant by reading about it on different kinds of books, newspapers and journals. Besides, I have also learned about it from a number of TV programmes which talked about many negative effects of tobacco products, as well as the tobacco plant itself, on our health and environment.


Similar Cue Card Topics

Your ability to talk about the Cue Card Topic "Describe a poisonous plant you know about." would enable you to talk about the following Cue Cards as well:
  1. Describe a plant or crop grown in your country. 
  2. Describe a plant that grows near your home. 
  3. Describe a herbal plant you know about. 

Some common poisonous plants encountered in India include:
(1) Irritant plants (e.g. castor, croton, glory lily, marking nut, mayapple & rosary pea)

(2) Cardiotoxic plants (e.g. aconite, autumn crocus, common oleander, yellow oleander, and suicide tree)

(3) Neurotoxic plants (e.g. cassava, chickling pea, and datura)
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Dhruv Shah
Can you please give me some idea related to castor plant cue card?