When Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump first planted the oak tree in the White House's garden it was supposed to represent a union between the two leaders.
But relations between them have since frayed – over issues ranging from Iran to trade – and the tree, a diplomatic source said this week, did not survive.
The French president offered the young oak to Trump on the occasion of a state visit to Washington in 2018, and the two shovelled dirt around it under the watchful eyes of their wives – and cameras from around the world.
It was a symbolic gesture: the tree came from a northern French forest where 2,000 US Marines died during the First World War.
But a few days later, the tree was nowhere to be seen, having disappeared into quarantine.
“It is a quarantine which is mandatory for any living organism imported into the US,” Gerard Araud, then the French ambassador to America, wrote on Twitter, adding that it would be replanted later.
But it was never replanted: the tree died during its quarantine, the diplomatic source said.