Tree that some say inspired Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ topples

SAN DIEGO — A century-old tree with a long trunk and bushy branches that some believe was the inspiration for fictional Truffula trees in Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” has fallen in a coastal San Diego park.

Officials are investigating why the wind-swept Monterey cypress toppled in Ellen Browning Scripps Park last week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Monday. “The tree was not dead at the time it fell, and with the exception of some stressing due to termites, was generally in good shape,” said Parks and Recreation spokesman Tim Graham.

According to local legend, the tree inspired the “The Lorax” by Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel, who lived nearby and worked in an office with a sweeping view of the coastline.

But there are no facts to back up the lore. His wife, Audrey Geisel, told the La Jolla Village News in 2012 that the idea for Truffula trees in the 1971 environmental fable came from an Africa trip.

“He looked up at one of the (local) trees, and said, ‘That’s my tree. They’ve stolen my tree.’ So that’s where that came from,” Audrey Geisel said.

Geisel told interviewers over the years that “The Lorax” was inspired by the anger he felt as he watched homes and condominiums being carved into the hillsides below him. He called the book “one of the few things I ever set out to do that was straight propaganda,” according to the Union-Tribune.

In it, the title character tries to stop the Once-ler from chopping down Truffula Trees so that their tufts (“much softer than silk”) can be used to manufacture Thneeds, a classically Seussian word for all manner of worthless merchandise.

“I speak for the trees,” the Lorax says.

Geisel, who died in 1991, would often claim “The Lorax” was his favourite among the 48 books that he wrote, the newspaper said.

Officials plan to salvage some of the wood and repurpose it, and a replacement tree will be planted, Graham said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$2 raise for some health care workers in Alberta over a month late

Delay isn’t from Alberta Health, spokesperson confirms

Central Alberta drowning and Ontario homicide connected: police

Police say there is a connection between two recent deaths – a… Continue reading

Wind warning issued for central Alberta

City of Red Deer and Lacombe under wind warning

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

SpaceX’s historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station

SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically

Ottawa pledges millions to promote holiday travel in Canada during pandemic

Funding announced include $30 million originally earmarked for attracting foreign visitors

Sweats are in, slacks are out: Could ‘work-leisure’ become business as usual?

Many desk-dwellers are opting for sweatpants as work-from-home era has loosened up dress codes

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

Increase is part of the government’s pledge to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage

In hard-hit Quebec, families struggle to mourn those lost to COVID-19

The province recorded more than 50,000 confirmed cases and over 4,300 deaths as of Friday

Most Read