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Distribution and habitat

Suillus luteus can be found all over the Northern Hemisphere. Native to Eurasia, it is widespread across the British Isles. To the east it has been recorded from Pakistan, where it was found along canals in Dashkin in the district of Astore, and as far east as South Korea. It has also been widely introduced elsewhere by way of pine plantations around the globe. It is very commonly found in Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) plantations, despite the tree being native to California and hence not in the fungus' native range. In North America it is found in the northeast, the Pacific Northwest and the southwestern United States. According to Ernst Both, it was Charles Horton Peck who first suggested in 1887 that the fungus was introduced to New York State on Pinus sylvestris. DNA studies show that the North American populations differ little genetically from European populations, supporting the idea that the fungus arrived to North America relatively recently as a result of human activity. Suillus luteus is found in coastal and mountainous pine forests and exhibits a tolerance of the northern latitudes. Southern Hemisphere locales where the slippery jack grow with plantation pines include South America, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. In southwestern Australia, the bolete is limited to areas of greater than 1000 mm (40 in) annual rainfall. It has been recorded as far north as the Darling Downs and southern Queensland, and occasionally in Tasmania. The fungus fruits in spring, summer and fairly prolifically in autumn, following periods of wet weather. Mushrooms can appear in large troops or fairy rings.

In Ecuador, Pinus radiata plantations were planted extensively around Cotopaxi National Park, and Suillus luteus boletes appear in abundance year-round. A 1985 field study estimated production to be 3000–6000 mushrooms per hectare—up to 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb) (dry weight) of mushrooms hectare per year. This continuous production contrasts with the bolete's seasonal appearance elsewhere. The fungus is not found in adjacent areas of native vegetation. The fruiting is so bountiful that the harvest of slippery jacks has become the main reason that pine plantations are established or maintained in parts of Ecuador. In southern Brazil, it has been recorded in plantations of slash pine (P. elliottii) in the municipalities of Pelotas, Nova Petrópolis and Canela in Rio Grande do Sul, and Colombo in Paraná. It is particularly common in plantations in Patagonia. Suillus luteus is the commonest bolete encountered in the Falkland Islands, where it is found in windbreaks and gardens. In South Africa, Suillus luteus has been occasionally recorded under pines in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Royal Natal National Park.

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