Tree That Inspired Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Falls Down

In Dr. Seuss' beloved 1971 book The Lorax, the titular mustachioed character has a very simple message: I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues. Now, the real-life tree that is believed to have inspired those lines and the book will "speak" no more, having fallen down last week.

Last Thursday, the Monterey Cypress located in San Diego's Ellen Browning Scripps Park fell. According to Fox 5 San Diego, the cause of the tree's fall is unknown and most of the debris was removed from the park on Friday, with the trunk to be removed this week.

"The plan is to salvage the large trunk section in hopes of repurposing it," San Diego Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Tim Graham said.

Monterey Cypress are native to the coast of California and are considered to be rare. The tree in Scripps Park is believed to be between 80 and 100 years old. The tree is believed to be the inspiration for the Truffula trees from The Lorax and Dr. Seuss himself, real name Theodor Geisel, lived near the park and could see the tree from his home. After the publication of the book, the tree became known as the Lorax Tree.

In The Lorax, a businessman named the Once-ler harvests a forest of the lovely Truffula Trees in order to make something called Thneeds, a versatile garment made from the tree's silk-like foliage. Despite the protestations of The Lorax who speaks up for the trees and the creatures who are impacted by the trees being harvested. Eventually all the creatures are gone as are the trees. The Lorax is gone as well and, in the story's present, the Once-ler gives a boy the last Truffula seed and encourages him to grow a forest from it. The story is seen as both a warning against the abuse of the environment as well as a critique of capitalism itself. The book was most recently made into a 3D animation film in 2012 starring Zac Efron, Betty White, Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, and Taylor Swift.

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As for Scripps Park's Lorax tree, the park hopes to plant a replacement tree nearby.

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