As with other plantains the tiny flowers are arranged into a dense spike that sits upon an unbranched, leafless stem which arises from a basal rosette of strongly ribbed leaves. Hoary plantain is more attractive than most with a greyish, short, downy stem and a flower spike of greenish white flowers with long pink-purple stamens. The basal rosette is flat with broad, oval leaves narrowing to a short stalk. Flowering occurs from May through to late August
Hoary plantain is primarily a plant of chalk and limestone but can be found on heavy clays and water meadows where conditions are calcareous and the sward is kept short. Most frequent on down land, calcareous pasture and mown grassland it can also be found in open areas within hay meadows.
Best sown from seed in late summer or autumn.