This is a fork of
MC-119523, as the behaviour has changed, but is still not as expected.
Now (so far as I can tell) using a piston to push or pull and end rod into or out of adjacency with a cactus will always break the cactus.
However you can still place end rods next to cactus without breaking the cactus, (and you can still place cactus next to end rods)
End rod orientation continues to have no effect.