Yellow birch was named Quebec's official tree on November 17, 1993. It is one of our main sources of hardwood lumber. Because it is too heavy to float, it has escaped being made into pulp and paper. Its tight-grained wood, which is strong and heavy and resists wear, is as hard as white oak but not as hard as sugar maple. It takes paint well. In the 18th century, it was more popular than oak for the submersed part of ships. Today, it is used for flooring, high-quality furniture, woodwork, veneer, plywood, railway ties and coffins. It gives off good heat when burned as firewood. This highly aromatic tree contains wintergreen essence, or methyl salicylate. An infusion of its leaves or twigs makes an excellent perfumed tea. Like all birches, it may be tapped in spring. The sap flows freely but it takes a lot to produce a small quantity of syrup. The sap may also be fermented and made into beer. Some people mistakenly call it cherry, probably because the two trees have similar leaves.