Tree planted by Trump and France's Macron mysteriously disappears

Mrs Merkel has hit a major setback in securing herself a fourth term

A source told France's version of HuffPo that the move was the result of a U.S. Customs requirement that the tree, like many plants from overseas, go through a period of quarantine created to stop invasive insect species.

Issues of world peace were on Macron's agenda for the state visit: He hoped to persuade Trump to keep the the Iran nuclear deal and to develop a plan for dealing with the Syrian conflict.

On Monday, Trump and Macron posed for photos while planting the tree in front of the White House. A pale patch of grass was left in its place. The White House is yet to comment on the development.

The oak tree-planting ceremony was symbolic, and both leaders knew it would later be taken out and put into quarantine, an official from the French president's office said on Monday, per USA law for any living object brought into the country.

The oak sprouted at a World War I battle site that became part of U.S. Marine Corps legend.

It was put in quarantine, according to US and French officials. The tree was planted in front of the White House as a physical symbol of the 250-year relationship between France and the United States.

Macron, traveling with French military and naval contractors, said on arrival in Sydney that France - a United Nations veto power - wanted to be an "even stronger partner" under a deal to build and maintain a new fleet of diesel-electric submarines for Australia's navy.

There's a good reason why the tree that President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron planted disappeared, and it has to do with protecting American trees. When a follower fired back that the caution seemed a bit late - given that the tree had already been planted - the diplomat went on to confirm that the roots had been enclosed in plastic.

An official from Macron's office told Reuters the tree is doing well in quarantine and will be replanted at the White House soon.