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

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A century-old tree with a long trunk and bushy branches that some believe was the inspiration for fictional Truffula trees in Dr. Seussá âThe Loraxã 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. âThe tree was not dead at the time it fell, and with the exception of some stressing due to termites, was generally in good shape,ã said Parks and Recreation spokesman Tim Graham.

According to local legend, the tree inspired the âThe Loraxã by Theodor âDr. Seussã 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.

âHe looked up at one of the (local) trees, and said, àThatás my tree. Theyáve stolen my tree.á So thatás where that came from,ã Audrey Geisel said.

Geisel told interviewers over the years that âThe Loraxã was inspired by the anger he felt as he watched homes and condominiums being carved into the hillsides below him. He called the book âone of the few things I ever set out to do that was straight propaganda,ã 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 (ãmuch softer than silkã) can be used to manufacture Thneeds, a classically Seussian word for all manner of worthless merchandise.

âI speak for the trees,ã the Lorax says.

Geisel, who died in 1991, would often claim âThe Loraxã was his favorite among the 48 books that he wrote.