Herbs, perennial, cespitose, coarse, (culms, leaves, bracts, and rays viscid). Culms roundly trigonous, 10-50 cm × 0.9-2.4 mm. Leaves: adaxial face concave, becoming flat to trigonous apically, 10-46 cm × 1.5-4 mm, margins involute. Inflorescences: spikes ovoid, 1-5.5 cm wide; rays usually 3-6, 0.5-5 cm, glabrous; sometimes absent in small plants; if absent, inflorescence a congested head of spikelets 1-3.5 cm diam.; 2d order rays 0-3, 1-3 cm; bracts 3-5, vertical to ascending at 45°, 2.5-25 cm × 1.2-4 mm, margins involute; 2d order bracts 0-2, 5-20 mm; rachilla persistent, wingless. Spikelets 5-24, greenish yellow to golden brown, oblong to linear-lanceoloid, quadrangular, strongly compressed, 7-20(-30) × 2.5-4(-6) mm; floral scales 10-20(-40), spreading, pale green to stramineous, laterally 2-3-ribbed, ovate-lanceolate, 3.1-4 × 1.5-2.4 mm, apex with mucro 0.2-0.8 mm. Flowers: anthers 0.6-0.8 mm; styles 0.8-1.6 mm; stigmas 1-1.4 mm. Achenes light to dark brown, rarely somewhat reddish, stipitate, ellipsoid, 2-2.4 × 0.5-0.8 mm, base cuneate, stipe whitish, spongy, 0.2-0.3 × 0.2-0.4 mm, apex acute, persistent style forming beak 0.5-1.2 mm, surfaces glabrous or finely papillose.
Fruiting summer. Ditches and disturbed places in marshes, often in saline soil; 0-100 m; introduced; Ark., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., S.C., Tex.; Mexico; South America.
Cyperus oxylepis is easily recognized by its sticky leaves, culms, and bracts (in living plants), involute leaves,and golden brown spikelets. The ovate-lanceolate floral scales and the ellipsoid, brownish achene with a persistent beak distinguish C. oxylepis from other species with deciduous floral scales.