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Tree sapling Macron gave to Trump appears to have disappeared from White House lawn

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By Emma Beswick
Tree sapling Macron gave to Trump appears to have disappeared from White House lawn
Copyright  REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

French President Emmanuel Macron gave Donald Trump a tree sapling on a state visit to the US on Tuesday.

The pair seized the photo opportunity, using shovels to throw earth over the shrub, but now it appears to have vanished from the spot where they planted it.

Images taken by a Reuters photographer on Saturday shows just a yellow patch of grass on the White House south lawn where the tree once stood.

The European Sessile Oak that Macron bestowed upon his US counterpart has historical significance as it came from Belleau Wood in northern France, a World War I site where thousands of US Marines lost their lives in 1918.

"100 years ago, American soldiers fought in France, in Belleau to defend our freedom," Macron wrote on Twitter. "This oak tree (my gift to @realDonaldTrump) will be a reminder at the White House of these ties that bind us."

Yet, just four days after the leaders planted it, it appears to have been removed.

The Huffington Post's French arm cited an unnamed source from the Elysee Palace as saying the tree was removed for "phytosanitary reasons" and was "was doing well" in quarantine.

Any import of plants or seeds must be quarantined for a period imposed by US Customs before being planted on American soil, to prevent the spread of invasive diseases or insects, it said.

“It was actually a special favour from Trump to France to be able to plant the tree the day of the president’s visit,” an official from Macron’s office said to Reuters.

“Since then, it has returned to quarantine and will soon be replanted in the White House gardens,” the official said, adding: “Don’t worry, the tree is doing very well.”