Recent advances in transcriptomics and bioinformatics, specifically strand-specific RNA sequencing, have allowed high-throughput, comprehensive detection of low-abundance transcripts typical of the non-coding RNAs studied in bacteria and eukaryotes. Before this, few plastid non-coding RNAs (pncRNAs) had been identified, and even fewer had been investigated for any functional role in gene regulation. Relaxed plastid transcription initiation and termination result in full transcription of both chloroplast DNA strands. Following this, post-transcriptional processing produces a pool of metastable RNA species, including distinct pncRNAs. Here we review pncRNA biogenesis and possible functionality, and speculate that this RNA class may have an underappreciated role in plastid gene regulation.