Perhaps spike-rushes can be so cryptic because they don't have normal leaves. All beaked spike-rush has for leaves are these sheaths looking like short tubes at bottoms of flattened stems. Some spike-rushes, including this one, have a single small tooth on the sheath margin--and that's all that stands for a leaf blade; others don't even have that tooth. The most conspicuous structures are spikelets, though in many spike-rushes (including beaked spike-rush) the spikelet is not much thicker than the supporting stem, thus also inconspicuous. This spikelet is underdeveloped.