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The tree that inspired Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" has fallen over

Dr. Seuss' "Lorax" tree has fallen
Dr. Seuss' "Lorax" tree has fallen 01:17

An iconic Cypress tree located in the picturesque seaside town of La Jolla, California, has apparently fallen over, according to local reports. The tree is more than an imposing plant — it inspired an important story by celebrated children's author Dr. Seuss.

Theodore Seuss Geisel — aka Dr. Seuss — moved to the ritzy beach town after World War II, according to The Smithsonian. He lived in an observation tower, which gave him stunning views of La Jolla, including Scripps Park, where a rare Monterey Cypress stood. This unique-looking tree is believed to be the inspiration behind Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax," a story about conservation, according to the city of La Jolla.

The Monterey Cypress that is native to coastal California inspired Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax." This particular tree — the most iconic one — has fallen over.

The book, written in 1971, tells a tale of a man who builds up his business at the expense of "Truffula trees" and the creatures who rely on them. It was made into a popular star-studded kids movie in 2012 that featured Taylor Swift, Danny De Vito, Betty White and Zac Efron.

"The Lorax" is a story about conservation – something Dr. Seuss was worried about. While the characters in the book are concerned with "Truffula trees" Seuss was passionate about a Monterey Cypress. Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss, who was environmentally conscious and often wrote about conservation, was concerned about the trees in La Jolla, the city says. He was upset that billboards and construction threatened the ecosystem and was thus inspired to create a story about the fictional "Truffula trees."

The "Truffula trees" and other foliage illustrated in Dr. Seuss' whimsical books resemble the greenery in La Jolla. However, one particular tree is somewhat of a star. "Ask anyone in town where the Lorax tree is, and they'll point you here," the Smithsonian says.

It's unclear what caused the tree to fall. The city plans to salvage and repurpose part of the tree trunk and will also replant a replacement in the area. CBS News has reached out to the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department for more information.

Some Monterey Cypress trees can live hundreds of years – but this particular one was between 80 and 100. Fortunately, the fictional Truffula will live on in "The Lorax."

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