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The genus is native to South-East Asia and wild durian trees are found in Borneo and Sumatra. In cultivation the tree has been spread over an area ranging from Sri Lanka and South India to New Guinea. Only a few trees are found outside this area, namely in Australia, Hawaii and Zanzibar.

Durian is quite common throughout South-East Asia, but in the Philippines only in Mindanao, while in the rest of the country the trees are few and far between. It is also an important crop in Vietnam and Burma. The trees are mainly grown in homegardens and on field borders, where they belong to the upper storey of a rich mixture of trees; in Thailand durian is largely grown in orchards.