A medium-sized deciduous tree, the sweet birch is often mistaken for a cherry tree because the bark of both trees are rough and have lenticels. When its bark is scraped, the sweet birch has a scent of wintergreen. The leaves are alternate and serrated and serve as food for many caterpillars. Leaf-cutter bees line their nests with the leaves. The tree was used for the production of wintergreen oil before a synthetic method was discovered. The tree sap flows about a month after maple sap, and the taste is more similar to molasses than syrup.