Officials in India want to make one thing clear: The tree that US President Barack Obama planted here three weeks ago is not dead. It just looks dead.
The peepal tree was awash in leaves when Obama planted it at the New Delhi memorial to Indian independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi.
By Thursday, though, it was just a single lonely stem. The lack of leaves has been giving Indian officials sleepless nights, with the local media blasting them for allowing the tree to die.
But the reality: Peepal trees often lose their leaves this time of year. BC Katiyar, a government horticulturist, says it’s a seasonal phenomenon, after he and other officials visited the tree and pronounced it in good health.
He says it would send out shoots soon.