Galanthus plicatus is a bulbous perennial plant, growing to about 15 cm tall. Its leaves are bluish or greyish green, broader than many other species of Galanthus, up to 2 cm wide. The leaf edges are folded back away from the upper surface of the leaf, both in bud and after they expand. The nodding white flowers appear in spring and have six white tepals. The outer three are all white, 2–3 cm long; the inner three are shorter and notched, with a green mark above the notch, often extending to beyond the middle of the tepal. In G. plicatus subsp. byzantinus, the inner tepals also have a green mark at the base.