Solitary purple flowers with purple-tipped, lance-shaped bracts. Covered in a white, cottony down. Flowerheads measure 2.5-3cm across.
The slightly pinnately lobed leaves are green and hairless. The undersides are covered in white, cottony hairs. Slightly toothed margins. The stems are also covered in white, cottony hairs. The rosette (basal) leaves are long-stalked. The upper (stem) leaves clasp their stems. Perennial. Found in similar areas around Britain as Melancholy Thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum). Meadow Thistle also looks similar to Melancholy Thistle but Meadow Thistle is slenderer, less hairy and has narrower leaves.