Explaining the origin and maintenance of biodiversity is a central goal in ecology and evolutionary biology. Some of the most important, theoretical explanations for this diversity centre on the evolution of life histories. Comparative studies on life history evolution, have received significant attention in the zoological literature, but have lagged in plants. Recent developments, however, have emphasised the value of comparative analysis of data for many species to test existing theories of life history evolution, as well as to provide the basis for developing additional or alternative theories. The primary goal of this study was to explore existing theories of life history evolution using a dataset of demographic information in the form of matrix population models for a large number of plant species. By projecting average matrix population models for 207 plant species, life tables and fecundity schedules were obtained and, in turn, were used to estimate relevant life history parameters. These parameters were then used to explore the i) lability of life history traits in plants ii) their continuum of life history variation, iii) the evolution of senescence and iv) the significance of demographic entropy in population ecology. Elasticities and sensitivities of life history traits showed significant phylogenetic signal compared to other life history traits, although, all the values of phylogenetic signal observed were < 1 indicating that life history traits are generally labile. Eighty one percent of species in the datset had mortality curves that increased with age compared to one hundred percent of species that showed a reproductive value curve that decreases with age at the end of life. In particular, the parameters that measured pace and duration were inversely related suggesting in general, the presence of senescence in our data set. Finally, the tenets of the directionality theory based on demographic entropy were generally not confirmed. This study provides an important contribution to the life history evolution of iteroparous perennial plants and confirms existing theories on life history evolution

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