The genus Capparis is a taxon of difficult delimitation that has several species and ecotypes due to its wide heterogeneity, its extreme phenotypic diversity, and the presence of intermediate forms linked to hybridization phenomena. The Sicilian territory hosts numerous wild and cultivated populations of two spp. Capparis spinosa L. and Capparis orientalis Duhamel, which are ecologically and morphologically distinct. The caper has considerable interest and economic value for its medicinal properties, culinary uses, and cultivation characteristics. It is one of the foods with the highest quercetin content. Quercetin is a flavonol with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulant properties. Recently, patents and clinical studies have highlighted the inhibitory effect of this compound against several SARS-CoV-2 enzymes (MPro, PLPro, and RdRp). Therefore, the aim of this study was to quantify the amount of quercetin in C. spinosa and C. orientalis by LC-ESI/QTrap/MS/MS and to correlate it with the pedoclimatic features. The results obtained showed that quercetin is more abundant in C. orientalis than in C. spinosa. The highest values of quercetin were recorded in C. orientalis flowers, leaves, and flower buttons of volcanic islands with southwest and east warm exposures. In conclusion, the data acquired can provide a good basis for further scientific investigations to support the identification of possible ecotypes as a source of quercetin for food or pharmaceutical purposes.
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